Extreme Air Pollution Concentrations in Tunnels

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A new study has found that the concentration of toxic fumes in tunnels is so high that it can cause harm to passengers and drivers, Medical News Today reports.

Atmospheric Environment published the study which measured ultrafine particle concentration levels outside a vehicle in a tunnel in Australia. The study involved more than 300 trips through a four-kilometer-long tunnel with each trip lasting up to 26 minutes depending on the amount of traffic. The results showed that, at times, concentration levels of pollutants were up to 1000 times higher inside the tunnel than in other urban conditions.

Professor Lidia Morawska, director of Queensland University of Technology's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health and co-author of the study says, ‘The human health effects of exposure to ultrafine particles produced by fuel combustion are generally regarded as detrimental. Effects can range from minor respiratory problems in healthy people, to acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in people with existing heart complaints.’

Individuals in convertibles, on motorcycles, or in older cars that are inferior in terms of sealing out harmful air are the most at risk. Drivers and passengers should always keep windows closed when driving through tunnels. In addition, personal air purifiers such as the Amaircare Roomaid Air Purifier with an auto adapter kit can help combat the effects of toxic automobile emissions.

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