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Women commuting during rush hour are exposed to higher levels of pollutants

Date:
June 17, 2020
Source:
George Mason University
Summary:
Studies have shown associations between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and adverse health outcomes, including preterm birth and low birthweight. A new study finds higher exposure to pollutants among women during personal vehicle trips versus time not in the car, and these differences were greater for trips taken during rush hour.
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Studies have shown associations between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and adverse health outcomes, including preterm birth and low birthweight. However, few studies have estimated real-world exposures during personal vehicle trips for women commuters.

New research led by George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services faculty found higher exposure to harmful pollutants during rush hour trips compared to other settings. Dr. Jenna Krall led the study published in Environmental Research.

Krall and colleagues conducted the first study to use personal air pollution monitors with vehicle monitors to measure women's exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5), one pollutant emitted by traffic. They collected data across 48-hour periods among their sample of 46 women with a mean age of 26 commuting in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

"Women frequently have different commute patterns compared to men, for example due to increased trips for household errands and/or transporting children," explains Krall. "With this difference and adverse birth outcomes found in previous research, we believed it was important to focus on this population."

The researchers did not find differences in PM2.5 exposures based on trip length, which might not be reflective of factors like traffic volume that impact exposures.

"Reducing vehicle trips might be one way to reduce PM2.5 exposures, and subsequently air pollution associated health effects," explains Krall. "This is particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women."

In future work, the researchers plan to use additional vehicle data such as traffic and speed to better understand these exposures.

This study was made possible by a multidisciplinary seed grant from George Mason University and the Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust, Bank of America, Trustee.

Zimako Chuks contributed to this story.


Story Source:

Materials provided by George Mason University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jenna R. Krall, Nada Adibah, Leah M. Babin, Yi-Ching Lee, Vivian Genaro Motti, Michelle McCombs, Andrea McWilliams, Jonathan Thornburg, Anna Z. Pollack. Estimating exposure to traffic-related PM2.5 for women commuters using vehicle and personal monitoring. Environmental Research, 2020; 187: 109644 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109644

Cite This Page:

George Mason University. "Women commuting during rush hour are exposed to higher levels of pollutants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200617145935.htm>.
George Mason University. (2020, June 17). Women commuting during rush hour are exposed to higher levels of pollutants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200617145935.htm
George Mason University. "Women commuting during rush hour are exposed to higher levels of pollutants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200617145935.htm (accessed February 27, 2024).

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