Traffic fumes in cities linked to increased cancer, heart disease risks

Air pollution, most notably from traffic exhaust fumes in urban areas, is correlated with an increased risk of lung cancer and heart failure, according to two new studies. Smoking’s still deadlier, but smoke cigarettes behind a car tailpipe and you’re really in business. [The Guardian] READ THE REST

Hollywoodland is in trouble.

Where I used to live in southeast NM there is a large amount of oil production. Whenever you would leave the town and come back a distinct odor would welcome you. Many in the area liked to refer to as “the smell of money” since it was believed to be the smell of oil. The smell however is one of the chemicals that is used in oil production. Southeast NM now has one of the largest occurrence of colon cancer in the United States. More studies should be done in rural areas as well as big cities.

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This is a line of research that has been understudy in the United States since the mid-80s. The landmark Harvard Six Cities Study, (“An Association between Air Pollution and Mortality in Six U.S. Cities”) was perhaps the first to show the relationship between particulate pollution and increased mortality while controlling for smoking and other risks.

One of the study’s authors, C. Arden Pope (Prof. of Econ at BYU in Utah), is a leading researcher in this area and has continued to study the impact of air pollution on health. One of his more recent articles in the NEJM (“Fine-Particulate Air Pollution and Life Expectancy in the United States”) collects the major studies to-date and summarizes our current understanding. One of their findings was that “reductions in air pollution accounted for as much as 15% of the overall increase in life expectancy in the study areas.”

Why is this even news? Haven’t we known this for decades?

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I occasionally eat bacon. Not often, but occasionally. A girl I knew learned of this and she decided to straight-up lecture me about how awful bacon is. “It is shown to cause cancer!” First, she had no idea what a nitrate was, when I asked (lol), but secondly, she lives in downtown Phoenix. Right downtown. She did not seem to get it. “BUT BACON!”

She also smokes (I do not). Ugh. Hippies.

With any luck I will survive to see electric cars dominate the roads.

I have a white porch near a well traveled road in MPLS. you can see the black soot that comes from car exhaust.

Car exhaust and brake dust too. Brake dust is pretty nasty stuff, especially back when brake pads were made of asbestos.

And tire rubber (alkenes, and aromatics- quite nasty). And windshield-washer fluid- in toto, a massive stream of methanol (also quite nasty). And drippings of used oil and coolant. And lead wheel weights, a huge source before we switched to zinc weights. And, of course, starter batteries are something like 90% of the lead industry’s throughput.

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