We have a problem, Charlotte. We have a smog problem. It's only the first week of April and already, according to the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, we've experienced our first "code orange" day of the year.
Smog isn't only a health concern, though that's reason enough to clean up our act. Because we can't seem to get a handle on our air pollution, Charlotte could lose federal highway funding. Why? Where's the pollution coming from? The vast majority is coming from our cars.
From Reuters, a United Kingdom study suggests a link between smog and strokes:
Of 3320 men and women who lived in a specific south London region and had a first stroke between 1995 and 2005, Dr. Ravi Maheswaran, at the University of Sheffield, and colleagues found more deaths among those exposed to higher estimated traffic-related pollution over more than a decade.
Maheswaran's team used 2002 estimates of two common traffic pollutants -- nitrogen dioxide and small, inhalable particles called particulate matter -- linked to breathing difficulties and other health problems.
Their report, in the journal Stroke, shows risk of dying increased 28 percent when nitrogen dioxide levels rose by just 10 micrograms per 3 square meters of air. A likewise increase in particulate matter increased death risk by 52 percent, they report.
All of the areas were typical of London. The low-pollution areas typically did not have major roads running through them. The higher pollution areas had levels of nitrogen dioxide that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consider the U.S. average.
Read the rest of the article here.