The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 November 2007

File under "Damned if you do"

Scott Fruin at USC's Keck School of Medicine reports that a third or more of a person's daily exposure to ultra-fine diesel particulates occurs while driving to and from work:

"If you have otherwise healthy habits and don't smoke, driving to work is probably the most unhealthy part of your day. Urban dwellers with long commutes are probably getting most of their exposure [to diesel and ultra-fine particles] while driving."

Which seems a reasonable conclusion, given the massive number of big diesel trucks on the road. It's probably not quite so bad for me personally, since my commute, at around 18 minutes each way, is much shorter than the 45-minute average used to produce Dr Fruin's data. But this perplexed me:

Hard acceleration, on both surface streets and in freeway driving, produced the greatest exposure to diesel pollution.

"The extent that [diesel trucks] dominated the highest concentration conditions on freeways was unexpected," Fruin says. "Shortening your commute and spending less time in the car will significantly reduce your total body burden of harmful pollutants."

Why the heck do you think I'm doing all that hard acceleration? I'm trying to shorten my commute, fercrissake.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

Posted at 3:44 PM to Driver's Seat


That's like the old conundrum about whether you get wetter running or walking in the rain.

Which was stupid anyway - since volume/time is involved.

Posted by: Jeffro at 8:43 PM on 14 November 2007

Which is another reason to drive in the rain: it keeps you drier, unless you left the damn sunroof open (don't ask), and you get it over with faster.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:04 PM on 14 November 2007