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Carcinogens from car exhaust can linger

Cancer-causing agents' interaction with nanoparticles could make the chemicals as harmful as cigarette smoke, lab study suggests

By
5:32pm, August 18, 2008

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

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