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back to article Pollution from car exhausts 'helps city dwellers fight stress'

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 …

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FAIL

Sponsored by General Motors?

This sounds lovely but appears to miss a few points

-a lot of that stress is caused by commuting, which is an artifact of congestion. You could add more roads, but then "Induced Demand" kicks in: people do more journeys or move further out into the suburbs

-there isn't enough space in an EU city for parking either

-misses out on other pollution artifacts such as CO2 or NOx, the latter being tangibly harmful.

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Silver badge

Umm...

Bollocks.

I'm minded of the sequence in Catch 22 when Milo Minderbinder tries to get Yossarian to eat chocolate covered cotton arguing that even though it's disgusting, it's his patriotic duty to eat it.

As wikipedia says "inhaling even relatively small amounts of the gas can lead to hypoxic injury, neurological damage, and even death." Okay, it's wikipedia, but it does seem to tie up with what I learned during my career as a biologist.

It isn't a narcotic, it's a vapourised lobotomy.

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a bottle of gin does the same job , proferssor

I predict a bottle of gin will also have the same healthy effect ,

so we must campaign for free gin to the population

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Anonymous Coward

Oh the noise, the noise!

Currently living in bass ackwards and it's actually lots noisier than where I lived in a city of 3M. Alright, that just happened to be a quiet spot, close enough to work to walk, and this certainly isn't despite being at an unpaved dead end; the neighbours are loudmouths and utter hicks. I think I wouldn't mind moving back to a nice and quiet spot in a city, no. Wouldn't mind at all.

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"— approximately 1-15 parts per million every half hour —" - I don't think this makes sense, 1-15 ppm is a 'continuous' rate.

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Yag
Joke

This explains why some of my parisian-based friends think Paris is the best city to live in...

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Anonymous Coward

El reg in "pollution is good for you" shocker.

One component of air pollution apparently reduces stress....

"noise" is the worst thing- if you selectively ignore the other components of air pollution; particulates, nitrogen or sulphur oxides, ozone; which kill a couple of million per year. That's according to WHO (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/index.html) - the organisation which also recognises stress from noise as risk factor in heart disease.

Luckily, sources of air pollution and sources of noise pollution are usually the same thing.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Cigarettes

I wonder how much of the alleged calming effect of cigarettes is due to carbon monoxide.

(I quit eight years ago and I've no intention of ever smoking again.)

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Anonymous Coward

re:cigs

tried one of those USB electronic cigs. No CO from that, still seems to work. But not in a Glasgow rock club, they weren't quite ready for that technology yet.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

(Probably) Not the CO

It's the nicotine. Nicotine is a neurotoxin that also triggers dopamine release. The dopamine release is the same addictive mechanism triggered by narcotics.

In short: Nicotine 1) inhibits brain/nerve function - reducing the effects of psychological stressors and 2) releases dopamine which has a calming effect and (somewhat) counters the cortisol released from stress

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FAIL

What is it about commentards?

If research confirms received opinion then its a waste of time and worthless, and if it contradicts received opinion then its retarded and worthless.

You know guys, the world is *very* complicated and what "everyone knows" is frequently inadequate, often oversimplified and ocassionally plain wrong. Keep your mind engaged more than your typing fingers and you might learn: not only new things you didn't know, but also whether things you think you do know are correct or incorrect, both being equally valuable to find out.

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Anonymous Coward

You have a point

Then again, there's also a lot of oversimplified "science reporting", and no self-respecting commentard will read the original research, and beyond that there's also plenty of poor science to go around. Or company sponsored "research" that's really just veneered propaganda. I mean, if even the researchers appear to not understand the statistics their work hinges on, nor the reporter, how's the general populace supposed to?

But you are right that maybe slagging just for the heck of it isn't entirely fair. Then again, there's a reason it's referred to as "commentarding".

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FAIL

What is it about research stories?

36 healthy individuals between the ages of 20 to 40 over two days

The scales alone make the results statistically insignificant.

And what is the value of knowing the health effect of a two day exposure?

Low-level long-term exposure to CO can lead to depression, slightly higher levels can cause fetus damage. How were these health effects accounted for?

Sniffing glue would also help you deal with the noise and stress of the city for pretty much the same reasons as CO - maybe that's what the prof has been doing?

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