Cancer-causing agents' interaction with nanoparticles could make the chemicals as harmful as cigarette smoke, lab study suggests
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 17, 2008 —The daily exposure to free radicals from car exhaust, smokestacks and even your neighbors’ barbecue could be as harmful as smoking, according to a new study. Many combustion processes, such as those in a car engine, create tiny particles that may act as brewing pots and carriers for free radicals — chemicals believed to cause lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
The findings are from Barry Dellinger of LouisianaStateUniversity in Baton Rouge, who reported them August 17 in Philadelphia during a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Whether the exposure equates to smoking one cigarette or as many as two packs a day remains difficult to determine, he added.
His team’s lab experiments — first described in the July 1 Environmental Science & Technology — suggest that noxious chemicals form on soot nanoparticles in the still-hot residue of combustion, for example i