Why Your Rush-Hour Commute May Be Making You Sick
Exposure to pollution during rush hour may be worse than previously thought, according to an alarming new study. Researchers discovered in-car measurements of harmful pollutants may be twice as high as previously believed.
Most traffic pollution sensors are located on the ground alongside the road and take continuous measurements. But vehicle exhaust composition can vary due to traffic congestion, environmental conditions, and other factors, causing commuters to be exposed to different conditions inside their vehicles than indicated by roadside sensors.
For this study, researchers at Duke University in North Carolina and Emory University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta used sensors placed inside cars to explore exposure to pollutants during rush hour commutes in downtown Atlanta. Results of the study, which were published in Atmospheric Environment, suggest air inside vehicles may contain twice as many particulates, increasing the risk for heart and lung disease and cancer.