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Pollution particles given off by car brake pads may be just as bad for the immune system as diesel fumes, scientists have found.
Exhaust gases are known to have health-damaging effects on the lungs, heart and brain but the dangers of brake dust are less well understood.
Scientists at King's College London, however, say the tiny particles can weaken the immune system and put people at risk of dangerous lung infections.
They tested the effects of metals found in brake dust on white blood cells in a lab and Ceramic filter found they made the cells less able to fight off common infectious bacteria. 
One of the researchers even said brake dust could be contributing to 'London throat', a name she has given to constant coughs, colds and 'froggy feeling' allegedly endured by people living in the city.
Pollution lowers the body's defences by carrying heavy metals into sensitive tissue and causing swelling and Mechanical sealing internal damage to white blood cells.
Another scientist added 'there is no such thing as a zero-emission vehicle' and said tackling exhaust fumes alone would not solve the pollution problem.
Brake dust is produced when a metal or ceramic brake pad grinds against the metallic disc and tiny parts of it break off because of the friction. King's College London researchers said it makes up around 20 per cent of PM2.5 traffic pollution (stock image) Brake dust is produced when a metal or Ceramic filter brake pad grinds against the metallic disc and tiny parts of it break off because of the friction. King's College London researchers said it makes up around 20 per cent of PM2.5 traffic pollution (stock image)
'At this time the focus on diesel exhaust emissions is completely justified,' said Dr Ian Mudway, a King's College lecturer who led the research.
'But we should not forget, or discount, the importance of other components, Ceramic disc such as metals from mechanical abrasion, especially from brakes.
'And as regulations to reduce exhaust emissions kick in, the contribution from these sources is likely to become more significant.'
The KCL researchers said brake dust makes up around 20 per cent of PM2.5 traffic pollution.
It is produced when a metal or ceramic brake pad grinds against the metallic disc and tiny parts of it break off because of the friction.
(GSK) highlights the effects that air pollution has on the public's respiratory health. Latest figures show that there are currently 40,000 pollution-related deaths a year in the UK." itemprop="description" /> (GSK) highlights the effects that air pollution has on the public's respiratory health. Latest figures show that there are currently 40,000 pollution-related deaths a year in the UK.website preload="none"> RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next 'World's worst' measles outbreak in the Congo has now killed... Meat-free burgers and sausages can contain TWICE as much... Being overweight or obese increases the risk of getting ANY... Heart-warming moment deaf baby giggles with delight as he... Share this article Share 95 shares
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