Feeds

Pollution from car exhausts 'helps city dwellers fight stress'

Toxic monoxide acts as benign narcotic, claims prof

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.