A very broad and thorough study was put together by a team of researchers at the University of Toronto, in Canada. They published their findings in Atmospheric Pollution research, and thus they gained wider notoriety.
One of the key things discovered by the researchers, which focused on pollution on and / or near major roadways coming exclusively from cars, was that it’s not just the area immediately opposite the road that gets polluted. Actually, the noxious fumes can still have a major impact on citizens living 280 meters away from the road, or ~920 feet.
One of the chemical engineers who participated on the project, Greg Evans, explains that “we used to think that living near a major road meant that you lived near a lot of air pollution. But what we’re finding is that it’s not that simple, someone living right on a major road in the suburbs may not be exposed to as much pollution as someone living downtown on a side street near many major roads.”
He adds that before we used to measure air quality by city, on a wide scale, “but now we’re starting to understand that we need to measure air quality on a more micro scale, especially around major roadways.”
Another key piece of information uncovered by different tests, which were carried out in a lab-truck that was driven around the various roads so they could do on the spot measurements, was the huge difference between vehicles.
Evans goes on to say that “the most surprising thing we found was how broad the range of emissions was. As we looked at the exhaust coming out of individual vehicles, we saw so many variations. How you drive, hard acceleration, age of the vehicle, how the car is maintained – these are things we can influence that can all have an effect on pollution.”
The team discovered that around a quarter of all vehicles on the road are actually responsible for 90 percent of all tailpipe emissions-related pollution. They calculated that this dirty quarter chucks out 95 percent of black carbon (also known as “soot”), 93 percent of carbon monoxide and, finally, 76 percent of “volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, some of which are known-carcinogens.”
News Source: Carscoops