Health Experts Discuss Health Impacts from Aromatics

Source: Kim Trinchet. Urban Air Initiative, • Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014

You don’t have to be right next to a tail pipe to be impacted by dangerous emissions coming out of vehicles.  In fact, research shows even unborn babies are being harmed from exposure to vehicle emissions, primarily aromatics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and ultra-fine particulates (UFP).  These are microscopic emissions that directly enter the mother’s lungs.  They then move to both the mother and baby’s blood stream, negatively impacting their health.

 On April 1st, a group of health researchers gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss the high health concern related to both PAH’s and UFP’s associated with gasoline and diesel combustion.  Though it is difficult to chemically identify each and every PAH makeup in the emissions, everyone in attendance agreed that driving on or living close to a busy roadway poses a great health threat.

This was the first of two meeting by The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the Energy Future Coalition (EFC), American Lung Association (ALA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

Urban Air Initiative is pleased that the impact of gasoline aromatics is finally getting the attention it deserves.  We now want to know, how much health data is needed before intervention is required?   The research makes it clear; something needs to be done about these emissions which impact the air we breathe.   UAI believes addressing gasoline quality needs to be the next step.

One of UAI’s greatest concerns is that there is little control over consumer gasoline as it relates to gasoline’s ability to form PAH’s which then contributes to UFP formation.    We also believe it’s important to ensure that gasoline quality will not continue to degrade and thus increase health related issues.

We need to point out that current policy and gasoline regulations do not address these issues.  That’s why it is important for those who are familiar with the research to help connect how these toxic emissions cause significant health threats for not only our children today, but also future generations.

The second meeting in May will focus on connecting the source of gasoline aromatics as the key contributor to PAH formation which then contributes to the toxic issues related to UFP’s.  UAI will help support this meeting and report back on the findings.