organic fertilization, not to mention the excessive use of pesticides
etc. We have polluted our water and air to the point that we don't want
to drink it or breath it in many areas. Is it any wonder why cancer and
and chronic degenerative disease is on the rise? Unnecessary chemicals
and pollution have a direct affect on our health. We have a choice...I
hope that you have made the right one.
Michael McCullough, DC
62: Air Pollution Linked to Genetic Mutations
By Ken Kostel
DISCOVER Vol. 26 No. 01 | January 2005 | Environment
More than 10 years ago, Jim Quinn, a behavioral ecologist at McMaster
University in Hamilton, Ontario, determined that herring gulls nesting
near steel mills around the Great Lakes displayed higher heritable
mutation rates than their rural cousins. In May Quinn and one of his
students, Chris Somers, were finally able to pin the blame on airborne
particles just a few micrometers in diameter.They found that offspring
born from male mice exposed to industrial air pollution showed twice the
mutation rate of those whose fathers breathed rural or filtered polluted
air. The most likely cause, Quinn says, are small particles that can
carry known mutation-causing compounds, such as polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, deep into the lungs. Because particulates as well as
polycyclic hydrocarbons are found in cigarette smoke, it's likely that
smoking could cause similar mutations.
The changes that Quinn saw showed up in genomic segments once known as
junk DNA because they do not appear to code for necessary life
functions. However, many of these regions are believed to play a role in
diseases such as type 1 diabetes and Huntington's disease. A separate
study that examined 18 years of data on the prevalence of neurological
diseases worldwide concluded that environmental factors may also
contribute to disorders like Parkinson's disease.
Quinn is now looking more closely at the link between air pollution and
mutations handed down from females. Because males continually produce
fresh sperm, the apparent mutagenic effect of air pollution starts to
disappear when they begin breathing clean air again. But in females,
eggs are produced while an individual is still a fetus, raising the
possibility that exposure to airborne pollutants in utero could cause
lasting damage. "There are many reasons other than mutations to be
concerned about air pollution," Quinn says. "This just adds strength to
the argument that we need to do something about it."
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