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Fwd: Carfree: An study indicates negative affects to exposure from freeway air

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  • J.H. Crawford
    This just came in. J. ... J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities mailbox@carfree.com .
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2011
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      This just came in. J.

      >To: mailbox@...
      >Subject: Carfree: An study indicates negative affects to exposure from freeway
      > air
      >Hi, I think you might find this interesting.
      >Freeway air bad for mouse brain
      >on April 7, 2011
      >If mice commuted, their brains might find it progressively harder to navigate the maze of Los Angeles freeways.
      >A new study reveals that after short-term exposure to vehicle pollution, mice showed significant brain damage ­ including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
      >The mind-numbing toxin is not an exhaust gas, but a mix of tiny particles from burning of fossil fuel and weathering of car parts and pavement, according to the study to be published Thursday, April 7 in the leading journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
      >Many studies have drawn a link between vehicle pollution and health problems. This is the first to explore the physical effect of freeway pollution on brain cells.
      >The authors found a way to recreate air laden with freeway particulate matter inside the laboratory. Whether in a test tube or in live mice, brain cells showed similar responses:
      > * Neurons involved in learning and memory showed significant damage,
      > * The brain showed signs of inflammation associated with premature aging and Alzheimer’s disease,
      > * Neurons from developing mice did not grow as well.
      >The freeway particles measured between a few dozen to 200 nanometers ­ roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair, and too small for car filtration systems to trap.
      >“You can’t see them, but they are inhaled and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air,” said senior author Caleb Finch, an expert in the effects of inflammation and holder of the ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging.
      >Co-author Constantinos Sioutas, of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, developed the unique technology for collecting freeway particulates in a liquid suspension and recreating polluted air in the laboratory. This made it possible to conduct a controlled study on cultured brain cells and live animals. (For all co-authors and access to the study after the embargo lifts: <http://ehponline.org/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1002973>http://ehponline.org/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1002973)
      >Exposure lasted a total of 150 hours, spread over 10 weeks, in three sessions per week lasting five hours each.
      >“Of course this leads to the question, ‘How can we protect urban dwellers from this type of toxicity?’ And that’s a huge unknown,” Finch said.
      >The authors hope to conduct follow-up studies on issues such as:
      > * Memory functions in animals exposed to freeway particulates,
      > * Effects on development of mice exposed prenatally,
      > * Lifespan of exposed animals,
      > * Interaction of particulates with other components of smog, such as heat and ozone,
      > * Potential for recovery between periods of exposure,
      > * Comparison of effects from artificially and naturally occurring nanoparticles,
      > * Chemical interactions between freeway particulates and brain cells.
      >If further studies confirm that freeway particulates pose a human health hazard, solutions will be hard to find.
      >Even an all-electric car culture would not solve the problem on its own, Finch said.
      >“It would certainly sharply decrease the local concentration of nanoparticles, but then at present electrical generation still depends upon other combustion processes ­ coal ­ that in a larger environment contribute nanoparticles anyway.
      >“It’s a long-term global project to reduce the amount of nanoparticles around the world. Whether we clean up our cars, we still have to clean up our power generation.”

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      J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... . http://www.carfree.com
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