Medical research conducted by the boffins  at the University of Edinburgh have that chemical particles produced  diesel powered cars can significantly increase the risk of heart attack in otherwise healthy adults.

Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the researchers have shown that tiny particles impaired the function of blood vessels that control how blood is channelled to the body’s organs.

Dr Mark Miller, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science, said: “While many people tend to think of the effects of air pollution in terms of damage to the lungs, there is strong evidence that it has an impact on the heart and blood vessels as well.

“Our research shows that while both gases and particles can affect our blood pressure, it is actually the miniscule chemical particles that are emitted by car exhausts that are really harmful.

“These particles produce highly reactive molecules called free radicals that can injure our blood vessels and lead to vascular disease.

The results are published in the European Heart Journal.