Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chicago Lake Breeze Effect Could Increase Asthma Risk

Date:
June 3, 2003
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Chicago has long been known as one of the nation's worst cities for asthma sufferers. Now scientists think they may know why. The culprit, they say, is the familiar lake breeze effect that moves commuter-generated air pollution back and forth between the city and Lake Michigan.

CHICAGO, June 1 — Chicago has long been known as one of the nation's worst cities for asthma sufferers. Now scientists think they may know why. The culprit, they say, is the familiar lake breeze effect that moves commuter-generated air pollution back and forth between the city and Lake Michigan.

Related Articles


Researchers have long known about this daily atmospheric swapping of air masses, but only now have they been able to identify and measure the concentrations of individual pollutants at different times during the cycle. In doing so, they have confirmed that the initial pollutants react with each other in a kind of chemical reactor over Lake Michigan, generating more toxic compounds. As the air mass moves back toward the city, residents may be exposed to high concentrations of these hazardous substances before they have a chance to dissipate.

The research was presented at a Great Lakes Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, by Martina Schmeling, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at Loyola University Chicago, and Paul Doskey, Ph.D., of Argonne National Laboratory's Environmental Research Division.

The researchers looked specifically at particulate and ozone air pollution. "Particulate air pollution contributes to many urban problems including low visibility, fog and cloud formation," Schmeling said. Particulates and ozone are also considered the most likely triggers of respiratory diseases like asthma. The group measured several different pollutants including ozone, sulfate, nickel and lead.

Measurements were taken from LUCAS, the Loyola University Chicago Air Monitoring Station. "High-powered instrumentation made it possible for the first time to identify pollutants before and during the lake breeze in Chicago and compare the differences," Schmeling explained.

The differences were surprising. The lake breeze effect interacts with particulate air pollution rising over Chicago from approximately 5-7 million commuters during the early morning rush hour. It then gets swept over the lake by offshore winds. "Above the lake [the pollutants] react with each other, initiated by the intense sun light... like in a giant reactor," Schmeling said. When the breezes blow this processed pollution back over the city and suburbs at night it is more reactive.

"More reactive particulates could be more health impacting," Schmeling said, suggesting that these findings could have a "broad impact on the community." Doskey agreed: "City residents may experience an acute, short-term exposure to high concentrations of pollutants as the leading edge of the lake breeze returns to land." Already Chicago and its suburbs lead the nation in number of asthma cases per capita per year.

Since the lake breeze effect is most pronounced during the early summer months, Schmeling, Doskey and their colleagues plan further testing in June. The researchers also plan to study data from Detroit, Toronto and other cities with similar meteorological patterns.


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. "Chicago Lake Breeze Effect Could Increase Asthma Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030603083134.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2003, June 3). Chicago Lake Breeze Effect Could Increase Asthma Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030603083134.htm
American Chemical Society. "Chicago Lake Breeze Effect Could Increase Asthma Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030603083134.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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