Exposure to fumes from leaded and unleaded gasoline while refuelling cars could lead to increased aggressive behaviour, says a new study.
Amal Kinawy, Cairo University, Egypt, based the research on rats divided into three groups with each leaded-gas fumes, unleaded-gas fumes or clean air.
The expert found that rats exposed to either kind of fuel vapour became more aggressive, such as more time spent in belligerent postures and increased numbers of actual attacks, as compared to the clean air group. Kinawy said, “Rats exposed to unleaded gasoline showed indications of increased damage caused by free radicals and altered levels of neurotransmitters in the brain cortex region, in comparison with the control or leaded gasoline groups. Furthermore, inhalation of both fuels induced significant fluctuations in neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and cerebellum”.
Kinawy concluded, “Heightened aggression may be yet another risk for the human population chronically exposed to urban air polluted by automobile smoke”.
The study was published in the open access journal BMC Physiology.