Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Magnetic Leaves Reveal Most Polluted Byways

Date:
October 16, 2009
Source:
Geological Society of America
Summary:
Tree leaves may be powerful tools for monitoring air quality and planning biking routes and walking paths, suggests a new study. Leaves along bus routes were up to 10 times more magnetic than leaves on quieter streets, the study found.

One of the Fe-oxide spheres produced by combustion, collected with a double-sided tape collector. This is a larger particle.
Credit: Rachel Housen, Whatcom Middle School/Bellingham High School

Tree leaves may be powerful tools for monitoring air quality and planning biking routes and walking paths, suggests a new study by scientists at Western Washington University in Bellingham. The research will be presented at this month's Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon.

Leaves along bus routes were up to 10 times more magnetic than leaves on quieter streets, the study found. That magnetism comes from tiny particles of pollution—such as iron oxides from diesel exhaust—that float through the air and either stick to leaves or grow right into them.

Geophysicist Bernie Housen and colleague Luigi Jovane collected several leaves from 15 trees in and around Bellingham. Five of the trees lay next to busy bus routes. Five sat on parallel but much quieter side streets. Five were in a rural area nearby.

Using two measurement techniques, Housen and Jovane found that leaves along bus routes were between two and 8 times more magnetic than leaves from nearby streets and between four and 10 times more magnetic than rural leaves.

Inhaling particulate matter has been linked to a number of negative health consequences, including breathing troubles and even heart problems. Tiny particles bypass the airways and get deep into the lung tissues.

The new study suggests that biking or walking along heavy bus routes might be as bad for your health as you might suspect when choking on exhaust fumes. That’s something cities might want to consider as they plan new routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

“I ride my bike to work every day,” Housen said. “I’ve always wondered what the effects of diesel exhaust are on my health.”

While many details remain to be worked out, the study also suggests that collecting tree leaves can be a simple and effective way to measure the load of particulate matter in the air. European researchers have been exploring the idea for a while, but this is one of the first studies to apply the technique in the United States.

“Using trees is a nice, low-tech way to do these studies and you don’t need to use fancy particle collectors,” Housen said. “If it works, you could easily collect a lot of data from a region. You could even have kids collect leaves. That makes it a powerful tool to see variation of particulate matter on a very detailed level.”


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Geological Society of America. "Magnetic Leaves Reveal Most Polluted Byways." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091015123604.htm>.
Geological Society of America. (2009, October 16). Magnetic Leaves Reveal Most Polluted Byways. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091015123604.htm
Geological Society of America. "Magnetic Leaves Reveal Most Polluted Byways." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091015123604.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
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