The study, which has been published in Atmospheric Environment, measured ultrafine particle concentration levels outside a vehicle travelling through the M5 East tunnel in Sydney.
Study co-author and director of Queensland University of Technology's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Professor Lidia Morawska, said road tunnels were locations where maximum exposure to dangerous ultrafine particles in addition to other pollutants occurred.
"The human health effects of exposure to ultrafine particles produced by fuel combustion are generally regarded as detrimental," Professor Morawska said.
"Effects can range from minor respiratory problems in healthy people, to acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in people with existing heart complaints.
Professor Morawska said the study involved more than 300 trips through the four kilometres of the M5 East tunnel, with journeys lasting up to 26 minutes, depending on traffic congestion.
"What this study aimed to do was identify the concentration levels found in the tunnel. It generated a huge body of data on the concentrations and the results show that, at times, the levels are up to 1000 times higher than in urban ambient conditions," she said.
She said drivers and occupants of new vehicles which had their windows closed were safer than people travelling in older vehicles.
"People who are driving older vehicles which are inferior in terms of tightness and also those riding motorcycles or driving convertibles, these people are exposed to incredibly high concentrations," she said.
"When compared with similar studies reported previously, the measurements here were among the highest recorded concentrations," she said.
Professor Morawska said tunnels were becoming an increasingly necessary infrastructure component in many cities across the world.
"When governments are building tunnels for urban design reasons, they should also consider the impact these tunnels are having on the environment and to people's health," she said.
"The study highlights why governments need to consider how they are going to deal with the air pollution levels inside the tunnel and removal of ultrafine particles in the outside environment."
The study was conducted jointly by Professor Richard de Dear and his doctoral candidate, Mr Luke Knibbs from Macquarie University, in collaboration with Professor Morawska and Dr Kerrie Mengersen from QUT.
Media contact - Rachael Wilson, QUT media officer on 3138 1150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael Wilson | EurekAlert!
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research