Feeds

Pollution from car exhausts 'helps city dwellers fight stress'

Toxic monoxide acts as benign narcotic, claims prof

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Toxic carbon monoxide emitted from engine exhausts, inhaled in low levels by city dwellers, has a narcotic effect which helps people to resist various other stresses of urban life such as noise – that's the controversial claim made by an Israeli professor investigating conditions in Tel Aviv.

According to a press release issued yesterday highlighting research by Professor Itzhak Schnell of Tel Aviv University:

Prof Schnell and his fellow researchers wanted to measure how people living in an urban environment confronted stressors in their daily lives. They asked 36 healthy individuals between the ages of 20 to 40 to spend two days in Tel Aviv, Israel's busiest city ... Researchers monitored the impact of four different environmental stressors: thermal load (heat and cold), noise pollution, carbon monoxide levels, and social load (the impact of crowds) ...

The most surprising find of the study, says Prof Schnell, was in looking at levels of CO that the participants inhaled during their time in the city. Not only were the levels much lower than the researchers predicted — approximately 1-15 parts per million every half hour — but the presence of the gas appeared to have a narcotic effect on the participants, counteracting the stress caused by noise and crowd density.

According to the prof and his colleagues, the thing which actually has the worst effect on a city dweller's health is noise: not temperature, not crowding, and certainly not carbon monoxide, which actually helps a person to cope with stress (anyway it does if breathed in the concentrations found in Tel Aviv – it's definitely poisonous at higher levels).

Schnell suggests therefore that the most urgent priority in making cities healthier to live in is not dealing with extreme temperatures or air pollution or crowding, but plainly and simply trying to make them quieter.

The research has been published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.