Narrator: This is Science Today. Atherosclerosis, or the thickening of arteries, is thought to underlie at least half of the deaths in Western societies. Now, a team of researchers including Michael Jerrett of the University of California, Berkeley, have found that particulates from auto exhaust can lead to atherosclerosis. This means that we may see a spike in many parts of the world.
Jerrett: So, rapidly industrializing places like China and India and parts of Latin America, heart disease is becoming much more important there as their lifestyles change and perhaps as their pollution exposures increase. So, it has a big burden of illness associated with it and that's very important.
Narrator: While there has been an association between air pollution and cardiovascular disease from previous short-term studies, this was the first time researchers uncovered direct evidence of a link between air pollution - in this case, auto exhaust - and the early formation of heart disease.
Jerrett: From a policy perspective, it's important because we have not really dealt with the near source proximity issue for roadways.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.