An Even Worse Toxin!
Just when we thought PM2.5 (particles having a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers - about 3% the diameter of a human hair - was the most serous pollutant amongst those caused by traffic, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (1) have classified 1,3-Butadiene as even worse.
1,3-Butadiene (2) is a toxic gas that originates from several combustion sources including exhaust-pipe emissions from motor vehicles, heating, and also industrial activities such as plastic and rubber.
Unfortunately it's widely used in the production of synthetic rubber used in tyres, so even if it was possible to eliminate toxic exhaust emissions, then some method has also to be found to capture the small particles thrown off tyres during the wearing process.
While https://blissair.com/what-is-pm-2-5.htm is a helpful resource on the health issues relating to PM 2.5, some commentators now question the 24 hour method of measurement. They hold the view that even the daily commute over a working week along a traffic laden road when pollution levels are at their peek, present a greater health risk impact than the official daily 24 hour measurement. Likewise the official measurement of 1,3-Butadiene is also of concern.
Whatever the ins and outs how measurements are done, the fact remains the only safe level for these toxins on people is zero, with the way to that is removal of as much traffic as possible from residential areas.
So what is the government plan to achieve that goal? Well just this week they announced five local authorities are to be ‘ordered’ to explore the need for Clean Air Zone’s (CAZs). Other measures announced are plans for councils to shift the focus towards prevention rather than only just tackling air pollution when limits are surpassed.
Whilst some money will come to cash strapped local authorities from central government, Martin Tett environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils must be backed with extra funding and powers if the local authorities are to play their part.
As usual time will tell but this old cynic has heard all this before and is confident this latest plan will only join all the others, now cobwebbed and forgotten. Unless of course people demand action is taken now!