Traffic pollution is known to cause chronic bronchitis and asthma, killing thousands every year. But that is not all. Simply living beside a busy road has its consequences. Particles in vehicular exhaust can stick to lungs for longer than was known, endanger the health of an unborn child, lead to joint pains and even trigger male infertility
Smoke from a chulha or a wood fire can never cause as much damage as emissions resulting from traffic. A study shows tiny particles from traffic tend to stick to lungs for longer periods than other smoke and dust particles.
Researchers from the Lund University, Sweden, measured the amount of airborne particles from vehicular exhaust that stayed back in the lungs of nine healthy individuals. The people were asked to stand on the sidewalk of a six-lane Copenhagen main road which has some 65,000 vehicles pass by everyday, and breathe into a new two-chambered device called the respi. Air was inhaled through one chamber and exhaled through another. The concentration of particles in both chambers was measured. The difference between the two gave the concentration of the particles that got stuck to the lungs.