Navigation Links
Time spent in car drives up air pollution exposure
Date:10/30/2007

Los Angeles, Oct. 30, 2007 The daily commute may be taking more of a toll than people realize. A new study by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and the California Air Resources Board found that up to half of Los Angeles residents total exposure to harmful air pollutants occurs while people are traveling in their vehicles.

Although the average Los Angeles driver spends about six percent (1.5 hours) of his or her day on the road, that period of time accounts for 33 to 45 percent of total exposure to diesel and ultrafine particles (UFP), according to the study published this month in the journal Atmospheric Environment and available online. On freeways, diesel-fueled trucks are the source of the highest concentrations of harmful pollutants.

If you have otherwise healthy habits and dont smoke, driving to work is probably the most unhealthy part of your day, says Scott Fruin, D.Env., assistant professor of environmental health at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Urban dwellers with long commutes are probably getting most of their UFP exposure while driving.

High air exchange rates that occur when a vehicle is moving make roadways a major source of exposure. Ultrafine particles are of particular concern because, unlike larger particles, they can penetrate cell walls and disperse throughout the body, Fruin says. Particulate matter has been linked to cardiovascular disease, but the ultrafine fraction on roadways appears to be more toxic than larger sizes.

Researchers measured exposure by outfitting an electric vehicle with nine, fast-response air pollution instruments. A video recorded surrounding traffic and driving conditions on freeways and arterial roads throughout the Los Angeles region. Measurements were collected during a three-month period from February to April 2003, and four typical days were selected for a second-by-second video and statistical analysis.

Results showed that the two main sources of pollution were diesel-fueled trucks on freeways and hard accelerations on surface streets. Surprisingly, overall congestion was only a factor on arterial roads and, even then, the highest concentrations of pollutants occurred only when vehicles were accelerating from a stop, Fruin says.

This study was the first to look at the effect of driving and traffic conditions at this level of detail and to demonstrate the specific factors leading to the highest pollutant exposures for drivers, Fruin says. The extent that a specific type of vehiclediesel trucksdominated the highest concentration conditions on freeways was unexpected.

Driving with the windows closed and recirculating air settings can modestly reduce the particle pollution exposures but does not reduce most gaseous pollutants. Driving at speeds lower than 20 miles-per-hour can also reduce exposure, but none of these measures are as effective as simply cutting back on driving time, he says.

Shortening your commute and spending less time in the car will significantly reduce your total body burden of harmful pollutants, Fruin says.

Off-road transportation such as taking the train will have a significant impact. Biking or walking are alternatives that also provide valuable health benefits from exercise, he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Meghan Lewit
lewit@usc.edu
323-442-3576
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Unchecked DNA replication drives earliest steps toward cancer
2. Climate change drives widespread amphibian extinctions
3. Habitat microstructure drives salamander metamorphosis
4. Mindless autopilot drives people to underestimate food decisions
5. Buildup of damaged DNA in cells drives aging
6. A genetic gang of 4 drives spread of breast cancer
7. Solution to Pollution: New Bacteria Eats Toxic Waste
8. UN environmental agency steps up battle against marine pollution
9. Pollution-eating bacteria produce electricity
10. Global warming increases oyster sensitivity to pollution
11. Toxic flood lifts lid on common urban pollution problem
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Yissum Research Development Company ... company of the Hebrew University, announced today the formation ... technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has ... from private investors. ... detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... PUNE, India , March 11, 2016 ... to a new market research report "Image Recognition Market ... by Application (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises ... Global Forecast To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global ... in 2015 to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Nigeria ... more than 23,000 public service employees either did not ... their salary unlawfully.    --> Nigeria ... that more than 23,000 public service employees either did ... receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> DERMALOG, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Cambridge Semantics, the leading ... today announced that it has been named to The Silicon Review’s “20 Fastest Growing ... other markets, Cambridge Semantics serves the needs of end users facing some of the ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Most consumers engage with biometrics ... for secure access, voice recognition for hands-free communication, and facial recognition to help ... biometrics technology today. But if they asked Joey Pritikin, Vice President of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The ... announce the appointment of John Tilton as Chief Commercial Officer.  Mr. Tilton joined ... of the founding commercial leaders responsible for the commercialization of multiple orphan drug ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... A compact ... Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in existing third-party MRI systems. PET ... treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging offers a solution to many ...
Breaking Biology Technology: