Wednesday June 19, 2019

A Simple Breakfast Toast Can Cause Air Pollution

"We need to re-focus research efforts on these sources and give them the same attention we have given to fossil fuels. The picture that we have in our heads about the atmosphere should now include a house,"

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Breakfast
Breakfast platter. Pixabay

Making a simple breakfast toast could contribute to a high level of indoor air pollution, say researchers.

According to a research by the University of Colorado Boulder, basic household tasks like boiling water or cooking your dinner or cleaning can leave your home as polluted as a major city.

“Homes have never been considered an important source of outdoor air pollution and the moment is right to start exploring that,” said Marina Vance, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

“Even the simple act of making toast raised particle levels far higher than expected,” she added.

For the study, Vance used advanced sensors and cameras to monitor the indoor air quality of a 1,200 square feet manufactured home. Over the course of a month, the team carried out a variety of daily household activities, including cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner. During the experiment, the measured indoor concentrations were high enough that their sensitive instruments needed to be recalibrated almost immediately.

Breakfast
Making toast can cause air pollution: Study. Pixabay

Vance said it is apparent that homes need to be well ventilated while cooking and cleaning, because even basic tasks like boiling water over a stove top flame can contribute to high levels of gaseous air pollutants and suspended particulates, with negative health impacts.

Moreover, the airborne chemicals that originate inside a house do not stay there. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products such as shampoo, perfume and cleaning solutions eventually escape outside and contribute to ozone and fine particle formation, making up an even greater source of global atmospheric air pollution than cars and trucks do, the researchers explained in the paper presented at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington.

Also Read- Does India’s Giant Step in the Direction of Green Energy Signal an End to Coal?

While many traditional sources like fossil fuel-burning vehicles have become much cleaner than they used to be, and ozone and fine particulates are monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but data for airborne toxins like formaldehyde and benzene and compounds like alcohol and ketones that originate from the home are very sparse.

“We need to re-focus research efforts on these sources and give them the same attention we have given to fossil fuels. The picture that we have in our heads about the atmosphere should now include a house,” the researchers said. (IANS)

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Airborne Metal Pollution Linked to Increased Risk of Premature Death in Humans: Study

"Our results indicate that the metals present in the airborne particulate matter could be a key component in the effects of air pollution on mortality", Jacquemin explained

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metal pollution
The scientists constructed a mathematical model which was then used to map the exposure of each participant to the metals under study. Pixabay

Airborne metal pollution is associated with an increased risk of premature death in humans, according to a study. The researchers used wild moss samples to estimate human exposure to airborne metal particles in order to analyse the relationship between atmospheric metal pollution and risk of mortality.

The study, published in the journal Environment International, included data from 11,382 participants living in rural areas throughout France. “There have been very few studies on the health effects of airborne metal pollutants, partly because of technical limitations, such as the lack of stations measuring air pollution,” said Bendicte Jacquemin from Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain.

“We thought that moss, because of its capacity to retain these metals, would be a useful tool for estimating the atmospheric metal exposure of people living in rural areas,” Jacquemin added.

metal pollution
The final analysis showed that participants exposed to higher atmospheric concentrations of metals of anthropogenic origin had an increased risk of death. Pixabay

The scientists constructed a mathematical model which was then used to map the exposure of each participant to the metals under study. The metals were classified into two groups, according to whether their origin was considered natural or anthropogenic.

ALSO READ: India: Unemployment Rate is at 45-Year High

The final analysis showed that participants exposed to higher atmospheric concentrations of metals of anthropogenic origin had an increased risk of death.
“Our results indicate that the metals present in the airborne particulate matter could be a key component in the effects of air pollution on mortality”, Jacquemin explained.

“This means that they are very likely to be exposed to lower levels of air pollution than people living in urban environments, which gives us an idea of the seriousness of the health effects of air pollution, even at relatively low levels of exposure,” she stressed. (IANS)