Most people know that breathing in polluted air isn’t good for their health. It can irritate the lungs, cause allergic reactions, trigger asthmatic attacks and is considered to be a contributing factor in lung cancer development.
But now a new study also indicates that breathing polluted air can interfere with your DNA, altering and reprogramming genes and creating an increase risk of developing cancer and other diseases. And it doesn’t even have to be long term exposure – the study found that it only took three days to alter the DNA of the steel-foundry workers participating in the study.
Before and after blood samples from the workers showed a significant change slowing down in the methylation (a biological process in which genes are organized into different chemical groups) rate of four genes that researchers think act as tumor suppressors.
While it’s true that steel foundry workers are exposed to about 10 times more particulate matter than most of us, researchers say the same changes can occur in city dwellers.
The good news is that researchers believe that these changes in DNA methylation are reversible, possibly with something as simple as folic acid, a vitamin that”Ëœs already found in many foods.