Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One Hour Of Grass Cutting Equals 100 Miles Worth Of Auto Pollution

Date:
June 1, 2001
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The air pollution from cutting grass for an hour with a gasoline-powered lawn mower is about the same as that from a 100-mile automobile ride, according to a new study from Sweden, which recommends using catalytic converters on mowers. The report is the first to compare lawn mower pollution with auto mileage, according to the researchers.

The air pollution from cutting grass for an hour with a gasoline-powered lawn mower is about the same as that from a 100-mile automobile ride, according to a new study from Sweden, which recommends using catalytic converters on mowers. The report is the first to compare lawn mower pollution with auto mileage, according to the researchers.

The recommendation is reported in the June 1 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

One significant pollutant from mowers is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, said Roger Westerholm, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden. He claims such emissions, similar for both riding and push mowers, can be cut more than 80 percent using a catalytic converter like those used in automobiles.

Westerholm found that the worst case of lawn mower PAH emissions totaled more than 4,000 micrograms per hour using unleaded fuel without a catalytic converter. Average emissions dropped to nearly 800 micrograms over the same time period with the addition of a catalytic converter, he said. Some PAHs, including a few in lawn mower emissions, are classified as probable carcinogens by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Obviously, if catalysts will become mandatory on lawn mower engines, and possibly other small engines as well, a significant reduction of exhaust components will be achieved," Westerholm said.

In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the so-called "Phase I" rules, which mandated a 32 percent reduction in emissions for small "non-road" engines. This affects all engines less than 25 horsepower produced after 1997, including mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws. According to an EPA study prior to the Clean Air Act of 1990, small engines from lawn and garden equipment make up nearly 9 percent of some types of air pollution. While current mowers meet the reduced emissions standards, catalytic converters would lower emissions levels further, Westerholm said.

In the Swedish testing, the researchers used regular unleaded fuel in a typical four-stroke, four horsepower lawn mower engine and found, after one hour, that the PAH emissions are similar to a modern gasoline-powered car driving approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles). A typical push-type lawn mower is run for an average of 25 hours per year, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. A higher-octane fuel known as alkylate also was tested and resulted in lower emissions. Alkylate is difficult to find in the United States and significantly more expensive than regular unleaded fuel in Europe.

Catalytic converters are already available on some European mowers, Westerholm reported. The pollution-control devices have been required on U.S. made cars since the late 1970s.

"Using a catalyst would help prevent most emissions from small engines," he said. "Of course, people could also use an electrical-powered lawn mower instead."

The research cited above was funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Roger Westerholm, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of analytical chemistry at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "One Hour Of Grass Cutting Equals 100 Miles Worth Of Auto Pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234907.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2001, June 1). One Hour Of Grass Cutting Equals 100 Miles Worth Of Auto Pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234907.htm
American Chemical Society. "One Hour Of Grass Cutting Equals 100 Miles Worth Of Auto Pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234907.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Napa Valley Wine Grower Survives Catastrophic California Drought

Napa Valley Wine Grower Survives Catastrophic California Drought

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) Despite a severe drought in California, Mumm Napa's winemaker says this season's crop may be better than average thanks to well-timed spring rains. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say when the moon was young, it was deformed by the Earth's gravitational pull, which gave it a lemon-like shape. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins