We know that exposure to pollution during rush hour traffic can be hazardous to our health, but it’s even worse than previously thought…
In-car measurements of pollutants that cause oxidative stress found exposure levels for drivers to be twice as high as previously believed.
To explore what drivers are actually exposed to during rush hour, researchers from Duke University, Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology strapped specially designed sampling devices into the passenger seats of cars during morning rush hour commutes in downtown Atlanta.
Rush hour pollution linked to diseases
The devices detected up to twice as much particulate matter as the roadside sensors.
The team also found that the pollution contained twice the amount of chemicals that cause oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress – the phenomenon antioxidant foods are supposed to address – is thought to play a role in a wide range of diseases including Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, heart failure and heart attack, sickle cell disease, autism, infection, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.
“We found that people are likely getting a double whammy of exposure in terms of health during rush-hour commutes,” said Michael Bergin, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke.
“If these chemicals are as bad for people as many researchers believe, then commuters should seriously be rethinking their driving habits.”
Source: Duke University via www.sciencedaily.com
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