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State Smog Checks What They Don’t Test for Can Kill You

City car exhaust can be worse than smoking two packs of cigarettes per day?

Vehicle inspection was implemented in the USA at a State level via the Clean Air Act (1990).

Catalytic converters create free radicals

Catalytic converters create free radicals

According to that Federal Law states are required to implement vehicle emissions inspection programs, known as I/M programs (for Inspection and Maintenance), in metropolitan areas whose air quality does not meet federal standards.

The following states have opted to waive Periodic Emissions Inspections:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming

Barry Dellinger of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge started reporting as early as 2008 that daily exposure to free radicals from car exhaust and smokestacks could be just as bad as smoking perhaps as many as two packs of cigarettes per day. Perhaps giving many people a reason to move out of the city to the country or for city dwellers to more fully embrace green living, public transport, start-stop technology and electric cars.


Car Exhaust worse than smoking two packs of Cigarettes per day

His lab team discovered that as hydrocarbon-based free radicals formed inside a car’s exhaust pipe and catalytic converter they quite often degrade quickly, but they found that some attached to nanoparticles survived much longer perhaps even indefinitely! When studied those nanoparticles showed a free radical signature similar to that of semiquinone, a free radical found in cigarette smoke that has been linked with DNA damage.

Sadly as the catalytic converter on your car breaks down smog-causing pollutants, it may be creating conditions for the free radicals to form, so in affect destroying some pollutants it might very well be creating others simultaneously. The free radicals seem to be forming after combustion takes place and the exhaust begins to cool down between 200-600 Celsius. If you’re wanting to ensure the condition of the engine and exhaust of your car is healthy and within emission regulations, then you may want to get in contact or visit a car maintenance garage similar to this Arvada auto service as an example.


Dr Barry Dellinger has won several research and science foundation awards

Why is this an Issue? Current State smog checks conducted for auto emission standards only detect molecules in a gaseous form and not those attached to solid nanoparticles.

Some Additional Reference & Research:
From: “Formation and stabilization of persistent free radicals” by Barry Dellinger et. al.
Proceedings of the Combustion Institute (Impact Factor: 2.37). 01/2007; 31:521-528. DOI:10.1016/j.proci.2006.07.172
ABSTRACT We demonstrate that stable and relatively unreactive “environmentally persistent free radicals (PFRs)” can be readily formed in the post-flame and cool-zone regions of combustion systems and other thermal processes. These resonance-stabilized radicals, including semiquinones, phenoxyls, and cyclopentadienyls, can be formed by the thermal decomposition of molecular precursors including catechols, hydroquinones and phenols. Association with the surfaces of fine particles imparts additional stabilization to these radicals such that they can persist almost indefinitely in the environment. A mechanism of chemisorption and electron transfer from the molecular adsorbate to a redox-active transition metal or other receptor is shown through experiment, and supported by molecular orbital calculations, to result in PFR formation. Both oxygen-centered and carbon-centered PFRs are possible that can significantly affect their environmental and biological reactivity.


Green-Eco-EV News Reporting by Ken Green Burridge

kenneth green burridge

Kenneth Burridge test-drives electric Nissan LEAF in Melbourne Australia

EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website