Research at UCLA shows that when exhaust from cars encounters blood vessels, it stimulates the creation of what are called “oxidized phospholipids.” That oxidized material forms the plaque that inflames arteries and blocks them, leading to atherosclerosis. If your arteries already contain plaque, exhaust pollution accelerates arterial blockages.
When the scientists tested the effects in the laboratory, they confirmed the serious effects of smog and other air pollution. They showed that the genes that increase harmful inflammation go into overdrive when they are exposed to exhaust particles. The end result: an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.