Driving Is Bad for You

Driving too much may not just be bad for the planet — it may be bad for your heart as well. According to new research by the U.S. EPA, tiny particulates that pollute the air inside cars can aggravate existing heart conditions. Rolling your windows up and closing your vents won’t help — some of the particulates in question are 1/800th the width of a human hair and can squeak in past filters. The particulates come from industrial facilities, vehicles — all the usual suspects. It’s not clear exactly how they increase heart-rate variability and spawn blood-clot-promoting proteins, but they do, and it’s bad news for those with existing heart or lung conditions. “I wouldn’t tell a healthy person not to drive when they need to,” said EPA researcher Robert Devlin, “but if someone has a heart condition, I would stay off busy roads.”