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Diesel cars pump out 50 per cent more toxic emissions than they should, major report finds  Diesel cars are pumping out 50 per cent more toxic emissions than they should be if all were complying with pollution laws, researchers have found.

140624_webHigh level of prenatal air pollution exposure and stress increase childhood asthma risk  A new study has found that children, especially boys, whose mothers were exposed to higher levels of outdoor particulate air pollution at the same time that they were very stressed were most likely to develop asthma by age six.

170519153547_1_540x360Traffic related air pollution linked to DNA damage in children Children and teens exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution have evidence of a specific type of DNA damage called telomere shortening, reports a study

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California named state with the worst air quality (again) 

High ozone levels and a quickly growing population are making it tough to implement regulations to reduce pollution, says a professor.

The quality of the air in California may be improving, but it’s still dire.

That’s according to the American Lung Association’s recent “State of the Air 2017” report, which labeled the state and region a leader in air pollution, with the highest ozone levels.

The annual study ranks the cleanest and most polluted areas in the country by grading counties in the U.S. based on harmful recorded levels of ozone (smog) and particle pollution. The 2017 report used data collected from 2013 to 2015.

The top three regions in the country with the worst smog levels were Los Angeles-Long Beach; Bakersfield; and Fresno-Madera; Salinas, though, was recognized as one of the cleanest cities in the state and the country.

“The Los Angeles basin is exposed to the highest ozone levels in the country,” explains Steve LaDochy, Ph.D., professor of geography and urban analysis at California State University, Los Angeles, an expert in air pollution and climate. “It is getting better here, but it’s still the worst.”

The air quality in the state was significantly better in northern California, found the report. Nonetheless, more than 90 percent of Californians still live in counties with unhealthy air.

The Price of a Growing Population​​

Dr. LaDochy says implementing eco-friendly air regulations are key to lowering pollution levels and that the rise in electric vehicle (EV) use and renewable energy sources have helped to improve air quality.

That said, he stresses that efforts to reduce pollution shouldn’t slow because some progress has been made. “There are a lot of people still living in unhealthy areas and there is still a need for improvement,” says LaDochy, who has conducted studies of L.A.’s air quality and climate, many with the help of student researchers at Cal State LA.

The federal Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, first addressed the emissions of hazardous air pollution and researchers have long linked poor air quality to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and premature death.

LaDochy suspects that California’s continuously growing population is largely to blame for the state’s failing grades on “State of the Air” reports and more residents is also behind the Central Valley’s recent drop in air quality, according to the report.

“Population in [the Central Valley] has really bloomed; it’s nearly doubled,” he says. “The coast is so expensive, so more and more people are moving to central California.” The rise and growth of agriculture in the area has also led to a boom in population.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, California’s population rose from 15.8 million in 1960 to 39.2 million in 2016.

While the state has some of the strictest environmental regulations in the U.S., keeping regulations in full effect is a challenge given the increase in residents, LaDochy adds.

What is Ozone?

California, and more specifically the Los Angeles region, is especially susceptible to high ozone levels. Says LaDochy, “Our geography and our climate are two very big factors.”

Ozone, a highly reactive gas, is produced when the sun’s rays split oxygen molecules. “It is a byproduct of our sunny weather and so many cars on the road,” he explains. “So when the ozone levels go up, it is basically because there are a lot of cars and sunlight present.”

Ho​​t days are especially bad for smog. “The higher the temperature, the worse the ozone levels,” he continues. “So if our city keeps getting hotter, that is going to cause higher levels of ozone.”

LaDochy believes that recent proposed federal cuts to environmental programs will have a direct impact on the state’s air quality. “One thing we can do is cool down these cities, and Los Angeles is trying to do different things to do that,” says the air pollution expert, citing the city’s efforts in planting trees and implementing cool roofs.

“We can take a lot out of the ​[“State of the Air”] report,” he says. “It is telling us that yes, we are improving, but there is still a lot to do. We need to be more sustainable, we need to live less consumptive lives. Everyone needs to do their part, every little bit counts.”

To help reduce pollution, the American Lung Association suggests driving less (carpool, walk or bike when you can), switching to electric transportation, avoiding burning wood, and using less energy overall.

Source: California named state with the worst air quality (again) — ScienceDaily

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Air quality action plan for Kathmandu soon 

The government is preparing an action plan to tackle air pollution in Kathmandu Valley.

The Air Quality Management Action Plan for Kathmandu Valley is being finalised and will soon be launched, said Durga Prasad Dawadi, director general at the Department of Environment.

He added that the action plan was prepared after a series of discussions with environment experts and stakeholders.

“Experts and stakeholders from government and non-governmental agencies were invited for their contributions during the drafting of the action plan,” said Dawadi.

The action plan proposes an Integrated Urban Air Quality Management Framework to keep check on air quality of the Kathmandu Valley, a separate strategy on assessment of impact of air pollution on environment, health and economy, and recommendations for hospitals, industries and brick kilns to reduce waste and pollution.

Similarly, the Ministry of Health will set up a public health surveillance system to determine the impact of air pollution on public health in Kathmandu Valley.

Regular epidemiological studies will also be carried out with other international health agencies to observe the air pollution impact.

The action plan also proposes a strategy on development and evaluation of Clean Air Implementation Plan, which will be enforced by the proposed High Level Committee on Air Pollution.

“The action plan will have several short-term, mid-term and long-term plans to deal with the problem of air pollution in the Valley. The department has also formed a steering committee to provide feedbacks and suggestions,” Dawadi said.

Environmentalist Bhusan Tuladhar said that the action plan was fairly comprehensive, but its success will rely on its implementation.

“We have had some action plans in the past as well. Implementation of such action plans with institutional and financial backing is imperative for their success,” he said.

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-06-19/air-quality-action-plan-for-kathmandu-soon.html

 

Source: Air quality action plan for Kathmandu soon – Capital – The Kathmandu Post

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Wildfires pollute much more than previously thought: Data from flights through plumes reveal three times the fine particle levels than officially inventoried 

Wildfires are major polluters. Their plumes are three times as dense with aerosol-forming fine particles as previously believed. For the first time, researchers have flown an orchestra of modern instruments through brutishly turbulent wildfire plumes to measure their emissions in real time. They have also exposed other never before measured toxins.

Summer wildfires boost air pollution considerably more than previously believed.

Naturally burning timber and brush launch what are called fine particles into the air at a rate three times as high as levels noted in emissions inventories at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study. The microscopic specks that form aerosols are a hazard to human health, particularly to the lungs and heart.

“Burning biomass produces lots of pollution. These are really bad aerosols to breathe from a health point of view,” said researcher Greg Huey from the Georgia Institute of Technology, which led the study. The research also describes other chemicals in wildfire smoke, some never before measured, and it raises the estimated annual emission of particulate matter in the western United States significantly.

The previous EPA data had been based on plume samples taken in controlled burns ignited by forestry professionals. Measuring plumes so thoroughly, from the sky, directly in the thick of a wildfire had not been possible before this study.

Plunging into plume

Unique research missions deployed planes to plow through the plumes of three major wildfires, including the 2013 Rim Fire, the third-largest wildfire in California history. An ensemble of instruments bristling from the flanks of NASA and U.S. Department of Energy aircraft allowed teams of researchers on board to measure chemicals and particles in real time and cull masses of data, upon which the new study is based.

“We actually went to measure, right above the fire, what was coming out,” said Huey, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, which he also chairs.

Bob Yokelson, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Montana has taken a leadership role in many aspects of the research and was in a group of about 20 scientists who selected the instruments to be installed on the large NASA plane. “We really didn’t have to go without anything we wanted really badly,” he said. Yokelson also helped design the flight paths.

Georgia Tech had instruments and scientists on the NASA DC-8 plane. Researchers associated with a total of more than a dozen universities and organizations participated in data collection or analysis. The scientists published their peer-reviewed results on June 14 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

“This paper is expected to serve as a basis for the next NASA fire chemical monitoring mission,” Huey said.

Refinery in flames

Methanol, benzene, ozone precursors and other noxious emissions collected from wildfire plumes may make it sound like an oil refinery went up in flames. That’s not so far-fetched, as oil and other fossil fuels derive from ancient biomass.

“You can see the smoke, and it’s dark for a reason,” Huey said. “When you go measuring wildfires, you get everything there is to measure. You start to wonder sometimes what all is in there.”

The study found many organic chemicals in the wildfire plumes, and technological advancements allowed them to detect certain nitrates in the smoke for the first time. But burning biomass does not appear to be a dominant source of these chemical pollutants, and the major findings of the study involved the fine particles.

Particulate matter, some of which contains oxidants that cause genetic damage, are in the resulting aerosols. They can drift over long distances into populated areas.

People are exposed to harmful aerosols from industrial sources, too, but fires produce more aerosol per amount of fuel burned. “Cars and power plants with pollution controls burn things much more cleanly,” Huey said.

Various aerosols also rise up in the atmosphere, but their net effect on global warming or cooling is still uncertain, as some aerosols reflect sunlight away from Earth, and others, in contrast, trap warmth in the atmosphere.

Prescribed burnings

As global warming expands wildfires in size and number, the ensuing pollution stands to grow along with them. Stepping up professional human-initiated burnings may help cut these emissions, the study suggested.

So-called prescribed burnings prevent or reduce wildfires, and they appear to produce far less pollution per unit area than wildfires, the study said.

“A prescribed fire might burn five tons of biomass fuel per acre, whereas a wildfire might burn 30,” said Yokelson, who has dedicated decades of research to biomass fires. “This study shows that wildfires also emit three times more aerosol per ton of fuel burned than prescribed fires.”

While still more needs to be known about professional prescribed burnings’ emissions, this new research makes clear that wildfires burn much more and pollute much more. The data will also help improve overall estimates of wildfire emissions.

Fire prevention professionals follow stringent rules to carry out prescribed burns to avoid calamity and sending pollution downwind into populated areas. The researchers do not recommend that inexperience people burn biomass, as this contributes to air pollution and can trigger tragic blazes, including wildfires.

Daunting flights

Experiments like these in real natural disasters are uncommon not only because of the rarity of assembling such great instruments and taking them airborne. The flights can also be dangerous. Plumes are not only filled with toxins, but their turbulence tosses planes around, shaking up technology and researchers.

“The smoke leaks into the cabin and makes you nauseous,” said Yokelson, who started flying plume missions many years ago. “You’re trying to take notes, run your instrument, look at the fire, talk on the headset, and get pictures. And at the same time, it’s crazy bumpy. Normally, if you’re in a smaller plane, your stomach is not too happy.”

Also, wildfires pop up unannounced, so flight schedules must be hammered out on short notice around strict regulations that normally prohibit flights near wildfires. Research aircraft also have to coordinate with regional authorities to avoid crossing paths with fire-fighting planes.

The rare data the flights from NASA’s SEAC4RS mission and the Department of Energy’s BBOP mission have provided stand to greatly increase understanding of the pollutants naturally burning biomass flings into the air.

Source: Wildfires pollute much more than previously thought: Data from flights through plumes reveal three times the fine particle levels than officially inventoried — ScienceDaily

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BMW’s Hometown Munich Mulls Diesel Ban to Fight Air Pollution

BMW AG’s hometown of Munich is considering outlawing older diesel cars, the latest European city to crack down amid mounting evidence that the technology’s not that clean after all.

BMW AG’s hometown of Munich is considering outlawing older diesel cars, the latest European city to crack down amid mounting evidence that the technology’s not that clean after all.

The driving ban was floated after a government study detected hazardous pollution levels in the Bavarian city’s air, especially of cancer-causing nitrogen oxide, said a spokeswoman for Mayor Dieter Reiter. Exemptions would apply for buses, taxis and diesels that meet Europe’s latest Euro 6 emissions standards.

Diesel’s image as a better-burning fuel has been tarnished by Volkswagen AG’s emissions-cheating scandal and a growing body of research showing that the engines spew harmful pollutants that can cause smog and cancer. Cities from London and Paris to Mercedes-Benz’s hometown of Stuttgart are making moves to restrict older diesels. Consumers worried about future bans are increasingly switching to gasoline autos.

In Europe, carmakers for years relied on fuel-efficient diesel to meet ever-tightening emissions standards and governments offered tax incentives to spur demand. The technology’s demise adds to manufacturers’ challenge of complying with environmental laws as they’re already struggling to convince drivers to buy electric cars instead of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles.

Even though diesel’s popularity is waning, the engines still account for 50 percent of European new-car sales. Gasoline autos are less fuel-efficient and emit higher levels of carbon dioxide.

Munich’s proposal comes after a German appeals court ruled that the city acted unlawfully by allowing high levels of nitrogen oxide pollution. Munich’s deliberations, which were reported earlier by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, could be finalized this year.

‘Unfair’ Rules

Diesel’s decline is particularly tough for luxury brands including Audi and Mercedes, whose line-up is filled with heavy vehicles such as the S-Class sedan and Audi Q7 SUV. Diesel cars accounted for 71 percent of BMW’s total sales in Europe in the first four months, down 4.2 percent from a year earlier.

Munich’s proposal won’t solve pollution problems in the long-term, a BMW spokesman said on Wednesday. In May, the company warned that carmakers won’t be able to meet the EU’s 2020 targets on CO2 emissions without diesel, which uses about 20 percent less fuel than gasoline engines.

Mercedes parent Daimler AG has complained that such bans are unfair to customers who bought their cars as recently as 2015, before Euro 6 kicked in.

“There are better, more intelligent measures like incentives for car sharing and electric mobility that would lead to a sustainable improvement,” said BMW spokesman Glenn Schmidt.

Source: New U.S. Carrier Hobbled by Flaws in Launching, Landing Planes – Bloomberg

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Side street routes to avoid city pollution can cut exposure by half 

Clean air signposts and online walking maps to sidestep diesel fumes would benefit public health, finds study

Taking a side street route when walking through a city cuts a person’s air pollution exposure by half, according to a new study.

Signposting these clean air routes and providing online maps would keep people away from heavily polluted main streets and would benefit their health, the researchers said. In fact the UK group behind the research have developed a new interactive map of London that allows people to put in any route and be shown a low-pollution walking option.

Air pollution is the “world’s largest single environmental health risk”, according to the World Health Organisation, with 80% of the world’s urban population now living in cities that exceed WHO standards for pollution.

The new research was conducted in London, which has illegally high levels of toxic air. The team from King’s College London analysed seven popular routes through the city, with different researchers simultaneously walking along main road and backstreet routes while carrying pollution measuring equipment.

The average reduction in overall pollution exposure for those taking the side street routes was 53%, with the cuts ranging from 30-60%. Gary Fuller, at King’s College London, said: “This could be better in so many ways for people’s pollution exposure and probably for their sense of wellbeing as well. Anything you can do to limit your exposure will be good for your health.

“The same applies anywhere, so it would be great if these ideas were taken up in other cities,” he said. “We weren’t surprised at the results, but it was very nice to be able to demonstrate what we believed we would find.”

The research, released ahead of the UK’s National Clean Air Day on Thursday, was commissioned by Cross River Partnership (CRP), a public-private city regeneration group with funding from the Mayor of London. “There is a lot of work going on to improve air quality in London but we are not going to get to the point any time soon in the next couple of years where we are meeting the WHO targets,” said Brendon Harper, CRP’s air quality project manager. So it is very important we encourage people to change the way they walk and cycle [to work] so they can reduce their exposure.”

Harper said the first clean air walking route to be signposted in London was the Kings Cross-Euston route, which has already seen a tripling in footfall and a boost to local businesses.

The air pollution problem in the UK has been called a public health emergency by a cross-party committee of MPs. Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted mostly by diesel vehicles, have been above legal limits in almost 90% of urban areas in the UK since 2010.

These and other toxic fumes are estimated to cause 40,000 early deaths a year but the government has failed to take effective action. The environmental law firm ClientEarth has already defeated the ministers twice in the courts over the adequacy of air quality plans.

Ministers’ latest proposals were published on 5 May but were widely condemned as inadequate, and ClientEarth is now suing the government a third time. The new environment secretary, Michael Gove, has yet to make any statement on air pollution.

Oliver Hayes, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said: “Our analysis of the government’s own data shows the scale of this public health crisis. It is not acceptable that air pollution is predicted to go on damaging people’s lungs for years to come. People in Birmingham and Leeds would be breathing toxic air for nearly another decade, unless more is done without any more delay.

“The current plans for cleaning up our air are just not enough,” he said. “With 40,000 early deaths each year from air pollution, and children’s young lungs especially vulnerable, this is a sickening amount of suffering that is preventable.”

Source: Side street routes to avoid city pollution can cut exposure by half | Environment | The Guardian

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Volcanic ‘plumerang’ could impact human health 

A new study has found a previously undetected potential health risk from the high concentration of small particles found in a boomerang-like return of a volcanic plume.

A team of scientists, led by Dr Evgenia Ilyinskaya at the University of Leeds, traced the evolution of the plume chemistry from the 2014-2015 Icelandic Holuhraun lava field eruption and found a second type of plume that impacts air quality.

This second plume had circled back to Icelandic cities and towns long after the health warning about the initial plume had been lifted.

Lead author, Dr Ilyinskaya from the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics at Leeds, said: “The return of this second, mature, plume, which we referred to as a ‘plumerang’, showed that the volcanic sulphur had undergone a gas-to-particle conversion by spending time in the atmosphere. This conversion meant that the sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels of the plumerang were reduced and within the European Commission air quality standards and therefore there were no health advisory messages in place.

“However, our samples showed that the mature plume was instead very rich in fine particles which contained high concentrations of sulphuric acid and trace metals. The concentrations of these trace metals did not reduce as the plume matured and included heavy metals found in human-made air pollution that are linked to negative health effects.

“On at least 18 days during the 6-month long eruption the plumerang was in the capital city of Reykjavík, while the official forecast showed ‘no plume’.”

The fine particles found in the plumerang are so small they can penetrate deep into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems such as exacerbating asthma attacks.

It is estimated that short and long-term exposure to this type of fine particles, from both human-made and natural sources, cause over three million premature deaths globally per year and remains the single largest environmental health risk in Europe.

Dr Ilyinskaya is currently researching the possible health impacts of the plumerang in collaboration with the University of Iceland. However there is already anecdotal evidence suggesting adverse effects.

Dr Ilyinskaya said: “We spoke to people living in Reykjavik who described a burning sensation in the throat and eyes when the SO2 levels would have been well within air quality standards but the particle-rich plumerang would have been over the city.”

During the six-month-long eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Office’s daily forecasts of the plume dispersion accounted only for SO2 concentrations in the young plume. The mature plume was not forecast as part of volcanic air pollution monitoring.

The study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, recommends that in future gas-rich eruptions both the young and mature plumes should be considered when forecasting air pollution and the dispersion and transport pattern of the plume.

Co-author Dr Anja Schmidt, from the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science as Leeds, said: “The Holuhraun eruption caused one of the most intense and widespread volcanogenic air pollution events in centuries. It’s estimated that the amount of sulphur dioxide released into the atmosphere was roughly two times that of a yearly total of SO2 emissions generated by the European Economic area.

“It gave us a rare opportunity to study volcanism of this style and scale using modern scientific techniques. The data we have gathered will be invaluable to preparing for a potential future event and its impacts on air quality and human health.”

Source: Volcanic ‘plumerang’ could impact human health — ScienceDaily

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Air pollution more harmful to children in cars than outside, warns top scientist 

Exclusive: Walking or cycling to school is better for children’s health as cars are ‘boxes collecting toxic gases’ says David King

Children are at risk of dangerous levels of air pollution in cars because exposure to toxic air is often far higher inside than outside vehicles, a former government chief scientific adviser has warned.

Prof Sir David King, writing for the Guardian, says walking or cycling to school would be much better for children’s health. The warning comes as the UK government faces a third legal defeat for failing to tackle the country’s illegal levels of air pollution. Air pollution is known to damage children’s developing lungs but recent research also indicates it harms children’s ability to learn at school and may damage their DNA.

“Children sitting in the backseat of vehicles are likely to be exposed to dangerous levels [of air pollution],” said King. “You may be driving a cleaner vehicle but your children are sitting in a box collecting toxic gases from all the vehicles around you.”

He said new legislation to ban smoking in cars with children had gained widespread support. “So why are we still happy for our children to breathe in toxic emissions in the back of our cars?”

“The best thing for all our health is to leave our cars behind,” said King, who now advises the British Lung Foundation. “It’s been shown that the health benefits of walking and cycling far outweigh the costs of breathing in pollution. If more drivers knew the damage they could be doing to their children, I think they’d think twice about getting in the car.”

A range of experiments, some as far back as 2001, have shown that drivers inside vehicles are exposed to far higher levels of air pollution than those walking or cycling along the same urban routes.

Prof Stephen Holgate, an asthma expert at Southampton University and chair of the Royal College of Physicians working party on air pollution, said there was enough evidence to tell parents that walking and cycling exposes their children to less air pollution than driving.

“It is nine to 12 times higher inside the car than outside,” he said. “Children are in the back of the car and often the car has the fans on, just sucking the fresh exhaust coming out of the car or lorry in front of them straight into the back of the car.”

Children are more vulnerable than adults, he said, because air pollution can stunt the growing of their lungs and because it increases the risk of sensitisation which can lead to asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Holgate said walking or cycling are better when possible, to reduce pollution exposure in cars and to increase physical exercise. He said: “There are multiple benefits to be gained. But parents are confused at the moment because they think there is less pollution in cars than outside, which is not the case.”

Ben Barratt, from King’s College London, measured the exposure of people travelling by car, bus, bicycle and walking in London in 2014. “The car driver, by a very long way, was exposed to the highest level of pollution,” he said. “The fumes from the vehicles in front and behind were coming into the car and getting trapped there. It is not true that you can escape pollution by sitting inside a vehicle.”

Recent research has added to the concern about the impact of air pollution on children, beyond the direct harm to their lungs. A study in Barcelona showed that air pollution reduces the ability of children to concentrate and slows their reaction times. “This adds to the evidence that air pollution may have potential harmful effects on neurodevelopment,” the scientists wrote.

A smaller study, in California, showed higher levels of traffic-related air pollution correlated with increased DNA damage in children.” Children may be especially vulnerable to the effects of telomeric DNA damage due to their physical development as well as developing immune system,” said the scientists.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted mostly by diesel vehicles, have been above legal limits in almost 90% of urban areas in the UK since 2010. The toxic fumes are estimated to cause 23,500 early deaths a year and the problem has been called a public health emergency by a cross-party committee of MPs.

The environmental law firm ClientEarth has defeated the ministers twice in the courts over the adequacy of government air quality plans. Ministers’ latest proposals were published on 5 May but were widely condemned as inadequate, and ClientEarth is now suing the government a third time.

“Air pollution hasn’t been taken seriously,” said Holgate. “There is a very strange situation where the government has to make laws by being taken to court repeatedly. In my view it is really quite appalling that we haven’t started to deal with this properly and put children’s and adults’ health first.”

Diesel drivers have been given tax breaks by successive governments, including when King was chief scientific adviser, to buy diesel cars because they have lower carbon dioxide emissions. Stricter regulations were supposed to limit NO2 emissions from diesels but cheating and the exploitation of loopholes by car manufacturers led to vehicles that emitted far more pollution on the road than in lab tests.

The British Lung Foundation’s Breathe Easy Week takes place on 12-16 June 2017 and a National Clean Air day in the UK takes place on 15 June.

Source: Air pollution more harmful to children in cars than outside, warns top scientist | Environment | The Guardian

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With particles, size really matters 

In 1996, the Scottish scientist Anthony Seaton put forward a new theory about the health problems from modern air pollution. Throughout our evolution, we have always lived with dusts, but Seaton suggested that the problems from modern air pollution were due to the sheer number of tiny pollution particles that we are now exposed to.

Since 1996, scientists have been looking for the health impacts from these tiny particles. A small number of studies, including one in London, found increased heart attacks when there were high numbers of particles in a city’s air. Major sources of exposure include traffic, airports and also fast-food restaurants.

Unlike other pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, we struggle to produce maps of particle numbers for a city. This makes it difficult to relate rates of deaths and heart attacks to the number of particles that we encounter as we go about our lives.

There is some good news. In 2008, the UK followed Germany and Scandinavian countries by cleaning diesel fuel. Taking out sulphur impurities reduced the number of particles next to roads by around 60%. Since then exhaust filters on diesel vehicles produced further slow improvements, but there are no plans to clean up aircraft fuel.

Source: With particles, size really matters | Environment | The Guardian

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