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Old 01-17-06, 06:36 AM   #1
jeff-o
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Cyclists exposed to less pollution than car or bus drivers

According to this story,

http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/200601...lksthanstreets

Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to far less pollution than people in cars or buses. Bus riders inhale up to 100,000 particles, while cyclists only inhale 8,000.

Well I can tell you, I can certaily smell the exhaust when I'm in the middle of traffic...
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Old 01-17-06, 10:15 AM   #2
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I don’t know if micro particulates are the whole picture. There are other gases as well. One of the bike lanes where I live is the lowest altitude of 7 total city arteries, which all occupy similar vertical locations, (due to raised road ways). Sometimes the stench of fumes is horrendous down there.

Now perhaps they will demonstrate that petrol-chemical combustion causes just as much premature death and health complications as cigarettes, then after 30 or 40 years of legal haggling, perhaps they will only permit motoring inside of private residences.
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Old 01-17-06, 10:28 AM   #3
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While the study (different particle levels observed at different locations) may be accurate, I don't buy the conclusion that cyclists are exposed to less pollution.
Firsty cyclist are not very far off the main travel lanes, only offset by a couple feet if that. Cyclist also breath at a much higher rate than car passengers - they take in much more air volume per mile, which likely offsets any slight reduction from center of lane vs. side of lane. I also notice that many exhaust pipes dump their goods to the right side of the road, mostly while accerating from lights where a cyclist is often passed by many accerating vehicles.

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Old 01-17-06, 11:49 AM   #4
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Indeed. Sometimes I hold my breath when I'm behind an accelerating vehicle, so that I don't have to inhale the fumes.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:58 AM   #5
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Any reduction in pollution is most likely negated by my tendency to pick the wrong side of a vehicle to sit behind at lights.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:38 PM   #6
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At least we're not making it any worse.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:39 PM   #7
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A UK study showed that drivers have higher levels of carbon monoxide in their lungs than cyclists.

The probable cause for this was that drivers tend towards "tidal" breathing, whereas cyclists breathe more deeply and therefore improve the clearance of noxious fumes/substacnes from the bloodstream
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Old 01-17-06, 01:02 PM   #8
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I believe that cyclists would breath less pollution than cars because cars tend to drive bumper to bumper in packs, so they are always sucking exhaust, but cyclists have times to breath clean air between the packs.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:18 PM   #9
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Most cars are bad enough, but once in a while there's a real stinker. I got passed yesterday by a pickup that must have had two cyliders totally out. It was like breathing pure gasoline, I was holding my breath and my eyes were so watery I could barely see.

I've seen studies that something like 80% of automotive pollution comes from about 5% of the cars on the road. We could cut pollution a TON if we could get universal tailpipe emissions testing in place.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:46 PM   #10
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I would have to say that bus passengers have a much greater chance of catching a virus or the flu during winter months.

As for particles, there is a lot more than just particles cyclists are breathing that are very toxic. I happen to think the particles the cyclists breathes in are larger sizes.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o
According to this story,

http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/200601...lksthanstreets

Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to far less pollution than people in cars or buses. Bus riders inhale up to 100,000 particles, while cyclists only inhale 8,000.

Well I can tell you, I can certaily smell the exhaust when I'm in the middle of traffic...
I remember reading that cyclists were breathing cleaner air, too. But I tend to forget that when I smell a nasty old van in need of a tune up accelerating up a hill past me. The thing I think is left out is that in a car, I can use the "recirculate" button on my vents.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
As for particles, there is a lot more than just particles cyclists are breathing that are very toxic. I happen to think the particles the cyclists breathes in are larger sizes.
Thats why EPA monitors:
· Carbon Monoxide
· Nitrogen Dioxide
· Ozone
· Particulates Matter (PM-10 and PM-2.5)
· Sulfur Dioxide
To asses air quality.

Its the PM-2.5 (2.5 micron) air particles that are worse than PM-10 (10 micron) as they lodge deeper into ones lungs. Once is a while we (metro-Phx) gets warnings for PM-2.5.

Also note that air particles may carry other hazardous chemicals.

oh, found this: cut and paste from - http://www.maricopa.gov/aq/status/glossary4.aspx
"PM 2.5 - Fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that result from fuel combustion from motor vehicles, power generation, and industrial facilities, as well as from residential fireplaces and wood stoves.

PM 10 - Coarse particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter that are generally emitted from sources such as vehicles traveling on unpaved roads, materials handling, and crushing and grinding operations, as well as windblown dust."
This is good too: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/naaqsfin/pmhealth.html

Al
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Old 01-17-06, 02:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I can use the "recirculate" button on my vents.
That recirc button shuts out localized external irritants but it increases your exposure to your own vehicle's internal pollution: carpet fumes, plastic off-gassing, rustproofing...you know, that heady, deadly "new car" smell.
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Old 01-17-06, 03:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker
That recirc button shuts out localized external irritants but it increases your exposure to your own vehicle's internal pollution: carpet fumes, plastic off-gassing, rustproofing...you know, that heady, deadly "new car" smell.
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Is it hopeless then, or can we rely on our own bodies to protect us to some extent?
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Old 01-17-06, 03:16 PM   #15
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I can see it coming:
New on Planet Bike, an air mask and bottle cage sized oxy tank.
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Old 01-17-06, 03:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webist
Is it hopeless then, or can we rely on our own bodies to protect us to some extent?
Only when you are breathing hard, I think that you will clean the pollutents out quicker than when you are sedetary. So whether or not you intake more pollution while cycling, you clean out quicker as well, in my non-medical opinion.
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Old 01-17-06, 04:06 PM   #17
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The car air vent intakes are lower than cyclists mouths so are closer to the exhausts of preceding cars. Much of my commute is also on low traffic streets.
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Old 01-17-06, 07:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarry
Only when you are breathing hard, I think that you will clean the pollutents out quicker than when you are sedetary. So whether or not you intake more pollution while cycling, you clean out quicker as well, in my non-medical opinion.
The harder your breathing is the deeper it tends to be. This draws particulates further into the bronchial passages than normal and lessens the chances of expulsion. If you smoke be sure not to exercise at the same time.

Some interesting on topic reading
http://www.messmedia.org/messville/smog.html

Last edited by SamHouston; 01-17-06 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 01-17-06, 07:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webist
Is it hopeless then, or can we rely on our own bodies to protect us to some extent?
It's certainly not hopeless.
Actually, even without man-made disruption, nature has plenty of toxic, carcinogenic compounds and irritants out there, (look at tobacco, or UV rays, for example) and our bodies have evolved strategies over eons to try to cope with them, so that gives us some ability to cope with synthetic toxins and other man-made irritants and challenges as well. However you can improve you chances of staying healthy by avoiding unecessary exposure to harmfull chemicals and rays, (for example, drive less, don't go for the George Hamilton tan) and encouraging other individuals and society at large to follow your example to reduce production of pollutants.
RGC
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Old 01-18-06, 12:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
As for particles, there is a lot more than just particles cyclists are breathing that are very toxic. I happen to think the particles the cyclists breathes in are larger sizes.
You mean, like bugs?
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Old 01-22-06, 11:02 AM   #21
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See http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/con...ct/160/11/1621 for health and longevity issues
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