Contaminated soil may lead to heart disease

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Environmental pollutants in the soil can negatively affect heart health. Mikhail Mikheev/Em/Getty Images
  • New research brings together the latest research on soil pollution and its effects on human health.
  • The report describes the links that researchers have found between soil pollution and cardiovascular disease.
  • The paper highlights that avoiding soil pollutants such as heavy metals, plastics and pesticides for healthy eating requires a more active and knowledgeable consumer.

Recent research has shown that polluted human roads have negatively affected the air and water on which we depend. A new article explores the growing danger beneath our feet.

The paper specifically focuses on the relationship between pollutants in our soils and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

“In recent years, air pollution has received significant attention as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Michael Hadley, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the study. Medical news today.

“By highlighting the serious threat of soil and water pollution, this article helps us broaden our interest in pollution in general,” he said.

Dr. Monica Agarwal, of the University of Florida’s Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, who was also not involved in the paper, agreed. I explained to MNT How often we may forget to think about the soil in which our foods are grown:

“I think we as a society look at food as a point in time. We see food in the grocery store, and then we buy that food to fuel our bodies, and we’ll be healthy. Right? What we’ve forgotten is that food is more than a point in time and there are many elements that go into good growth.”

“This article reminds us that food needs healthy soil, clean air, biodiversity and clean water to grow,” she stressed.

“More broadly, this article is an illustration of our growing understanding of the critical role of the environment – ‘exposure’ – as a determinant of global cardiovascular health.”
– Dr. Michael Hadley

Hannah Schiller, of the Department of Crop and Soil Science at the Cornell Waste Management Institute, said: MNT:

Environmental health – especially soil health – is closely related to human health. By building healthier, more sustainable, nutrient-rich and less polluted soils, we can reduce the adverse health effects of soil toxins and pollutants.”

The paper was published in Oxford Academy.

The authors of the paper cite the critical role soil plays in the environment and human health:

“The Earth’s thin crust supports all terrestrial life and is involved in organizing and providing many key ecosystem services essential to the environment, human health and well-being. Soils are the basis of the agricultural food system and the medium in which nearly all food-producing crops grow—about 95% of the food we eat comes from the soil.”

The main threats to human health in soils are macro and particulate plastics, deforestation, pesticides, excessive fertilization, and heavy metals.

“The article highlights that environmental exposures such as excess fertilizers, micro and macroplastics, deforestation and poor water quality among others lead to a loss of soil biodiversity leading to imbalance in the ecosystem. It reminds us that ultimately, these exposures lead to Poor soil quality, which then leads to unhealthy foods.”
– Dr. Monica Aggarwal

Heavy metals, metalloids, and pesticides may produce oxidative stress, which is known to be a trigger for a range of non-communicable diseases. Metals such as cadmium and lead, as well as metalloids such as arsenic, are associated with cardiovascular disease.

Those who work in agriculture are at particular risk, the paper says:

“It is estimated that 25 million agricultural workers are affected annually by pesticide poisoning.”

The paper also notes that “insecticides used in agricultural fields are associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and asthma as well as a variety of short-term problems (such as dizziness, nausea, skin and eye irritation, and headache).

“There is certainly not enough understanding of the impact of soil pollution on chronic diseases,” said Dr. Aggarwal.

“We are just beginning to look at the impact of a lack of soil diversity and how the quality of plant nutrients can be affected by how food is grown. A lot of work needs to be done and fast,” she said.

Dr Hadley said the report raises a much-needed alarm:

“I suspect that many health communities and health care professionals have a somewhat limited understanding of the severity and prevalence of soil contamination, particularly in relation to its cardiovascular effects. This article can help raise awareness of this serious problem.”

When asked how consumers can reduce their exposure to soil pollutants in food, Schiller advised:

“The most important thing to do is to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove soil particles, chemicals and other contaminants.”

She continued, “Also think about where your food comes from, where and how it’s grown. Buying organic may help, especially for certain types of produce, but not the whole picture. Some chemicals, like lead and other toxic metals, are not subject to organic standards.”

Dr. Agarwal suggested a pragmatic approach to eating, saying “[w]Its need to go back to the roots, pun intended.”

“We need to remember how to grow food in our backyards – learn how to take care of healthy soil. We need to stop focusing on growing perfect yards with chemicals and sprays. Make living yards with trees and natural plants. We also have to start eating seasonal and locally grown foods” .
– Dr. Monica Aggarwal

“The expectation of year-round access to certain foods places unreasonable demands on our farms and soils,” Dr. Agarwal added.

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