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

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.


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

Page: 1 2

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