Bike commuters fare better in air pollution study

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Photo credit: Richard Masoner
  • Photo credit: Richard Masoner

Well, who'd a thunk it? Bikers breathe better in traffic, better than mass transit patrons and better than people feeling lonely in their cars.

From the Environmental Health News:

Breathing traffic air pollution while commuting during rush hour affects airway function in drivers and bus riders but not bikers, report researchers in the journal Epidemiology. Even though the bikers inhaled more air  – and more particulates – during their two-hour commutes, they didn't experience the airflow declines seen in the bus and car riders.

Researchers found the vehicle commuters who inhaled more particulates did worse on the breathing tests: they exhaled less volume of air with higher levels of nitrogen oxide. These measures indicate restricted and inflamed airways. The breathing effects were associated with the short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM10) and soot.

The effects were short lived and disappeared within six hours of exposures. However, commuters are exposed to these conditions every day.

This study provides new evidence that short, real life level exposures to complex mixes of pollutants may impact respiratory function even among healthy adults.

Read the rest of the report's synopsis, by Healther Volk, here.

Further reading: Matthews medical waste incinerator is shut downThe Charlotte Observer

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