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Tree molecule dangerous for your health

A molecule produced by trees has the ability to combine with pollutants to create a potentially dangerous form of air pollution.

Research has shown that isoprene, a molecule known to protect leaves from oxygen damage and changes in temperature, is creating particulate matter – tiny particles able to get lodged in lungs, leading to lung cancer and asthma – by being chemically altered by sunlight and then reacting with nitrogen oxides.

Isoprene has long been assumed to be responsible for this, but until now, it has been unknown how. Now that the mechanism behind the phenomenon is known, scientists are hopeful that the effects of particulate matter can be reduced.

Read more at UNC-Chapel HIll