We already knew the fine particles, captured by the catalytic converters, were harmless to our health. However, there is Alas, the health-threatening ultra-fine particles.
These ultra-fine particles size is a thousandth of a millimeter. Even though they are invisible to the naked eye, they enter our lungs and blood vessels. These particles are one of the principles causes of premature deaths through strokes and heart problems. The french agency ANSES (National Agency for Sanitary and Environmental Safety) announced the most feasible solution to improve the sanitary situation, limit the car traffic. A suggestion that may upset more than one driver, yet we need to change our behavior.
How to reduce risk?
ANSES was able to assess the impact of technological choices by performing simulations on car traffic. To diminish the average pollution levels is mandatory the promotion particulate filters, the reduction of diesel vehicles, and the increase of electric cars. Even though the WHO's (World Health Organization) standards are still outdated, two solutions are remaining, the reduction of road traffic and the promotion of electricity. These practices would reduce annual emissions of small particles (PM2.5) by at least 30%. However, it would be necessary to change our habits that have less impact or no impact on air quality by using public transport, cycling, and walking.
Finally, the ANSES experts remark a different source for the particles apart than the exhaust, the brake systems and tires abrasion on the road. These particles break up to nanometer size, remaining suspended in the air and affecting our respiratory system.
Need to measure the quality of the breathed air?
Although the situation has improved in recent years, in 2018, nearly one million people in Paris have been exposed to an annual average exceeding European limit of 40 micrograms / m3.
The chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide, one of the most harmful air pollutants, is now measurable thanks to Airparif's 24Air service.
Commissioned in July 2019, this system can evaluate not only the average annual exposure to this irritating gas but also the formation of another pollutant, ozone.
The exposure origin varies but mainly comes from exhaust pipes gases. To calculate your exposure, you must enter on the site your daily routine, your address, place of work, outdoor activities, and modes of transport you use.
For each defined period, 24 Air indicates the level of pollution, from exceptionally low to remarkably high. Also, this application offers a chart calculating the annual daily average considering the number of hours of exposure at each pollution level.
If you are in the red, you are beyond the European limit.
Why should we be aware of this information?
The decision of living in one place more than another, it's a question of choice. However, if you do not plan to relocate, this application enables you to be conscious of your behavior and reduce your exposure.
Some of the practices to consider are ventilating your home during off-peak hours, avoiding the main axes by foot or limiting the use of the car.
The safest way to have a healthy environment is still to avoid polluting it. Recall that the air engine produces neither gas nor fine particles; it only emits cold air. This solution gives a significant asset to have a breathable and sanitary atmosphere in urban areas.
Let's change our behaviors.