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Freeway air bad for mouse brain
Date:4/6/2011

ve animals. (For all co-authors and access to the study after the embargo lifts: http://ehponline.org/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1002973)

Exposure lasted a total of 150 hours, spread over 10 weeks, in three sessions per week lasting five hours each.

"Of course this leads to the question, 'How can we protect urban dwellers from this type of toxicity?' And that's a huge unknown," Finch said.

The authors hope to conduct follow-up studies on issues such as:

  • Memory functions in animals exposed to freeway particulates,
  • Effects on development of mice exposed prenatally,
  • Lifespan of exposed animals,
  • Interaction of particulates with other components of smog, such as heat and ozone,
  • Potential for recovery between periods of exposure,
  • Comparison of effects from artificially and naturally occurring nanoparticles,
  • Chemical interactions between freeway particulates and brain cells.

If further studies confirm that freeway particulates pose a human health hazard, solutions will be hard to find.

Even an all-electric car culture would not solve the problem on its own, Finch said.

"It would certainly sharply decrease the local concentration of nanoparticles, but then at present electrical generation still depends upon other combustion processes coal that in a larger environment contribute nanoparticles anyway.

"It's a long-term global project to reduce the amount of nanoparticles around the world. Whether we clean up our cars, we still have to clean up our power generation."


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Contact: Suzanne Wu
suzanne.wu@usc.edu
213-740-0252
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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