Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tunnels Concentrate Air Pollution By Up To 1,000 Times

Date:
August 30, 2009
Source:
Queensland University of Technology
Summary:
A toxic cocktail of ultrafine particles is lurking inside road tunnels in concentration levels so high they have the potential to harm drivers and passengers, a new study has found.

New research suggests that ultrafine particles are lurking inside road tunnels in concentration levels so high they have the potential to harm drivers and passengers.
Credit: iStockphoto/Tobias Helbig

A toxic cocktail of ultrafine particles is lurking inside road tunnels in concentration levels so high they have the potential to harm drivers and passengers, a new study has found.

The study, which has been published in Atmospheric Environment, measured ultrafine particle concentration levels outside a vehicle travelling through the M5 East tunnel in Sydney.

Study co-author and director of Queensland University of Technology's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Professor Lidia Morawska, said road tunnels were locations where maximum exposure to dangerous ultrafine particles in addition to other pollutants occurred.

"The human health effects of exposure to ultrafine particles produced by fuel combustion are generally regarded as detrimental," Professor Morawska said.

"Effects can range from minor respiratory problems in healthy people, to acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in people with existing heart complaints.

Professor Morawska said the study involved more than 300 trips through the four kilometres of the M5 East tunnel, with journeys lasting up to 26 minutes, depending on traffic congestion.

"What this study aimed to do was identify the concentration levels found in the tunnel. It generated a huge body of data on the concentrations and the results show that, at times, the levels are up to 1000 times higher than in urban ambient conditions," she said.

She said drivers and occupants of new vehicles which had their windows closed were safer than people travelling in older vehicles.

"People who are driving older vehicles which are inferior in terms of tightness and also those riding motorcycles or driving convertibles, these people are exposed to incredibly high concentrations," she said.

"When compared with similar studies reported previously, the measurements here were among the highest recorded concentrations," she said.

Professor Morawska said tunnels were becoming an increasingly necessary infrastructure component in many cities across the world.

"When governments are building tunnels for urban design reasons, they should also consider the impact these tunnels are having on the environment and to people's health," she said.

"The study highlights why governments need to consider how they are going to deal with the air pollution levels inside the tunnel and removal of ultrafine particles in the outside environment."

The study was conducted jointly by Professor Richard de Dear and his doctoral candidate, Mr Luke Knibbs from Macquarie University, in collaboration with Professor Morawska and Dr Kerrie Mengersen from QUT.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queensland University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queensland University of Technology. "Tunnels Concentrate Air Pollution By Up To 1,000 Times." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827101241.htm>.
Queensland University of Technology. (2009, August 30). Tunnels Concentrate Air Pollution By Up To 1,000 Times. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827101241.htm
Queensland University of Technology. "Tunnels Concentrate Air Pollution By Up To 1,000 Times." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827101241.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. 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