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Couldn’t find a general thread about air pollution/fine-particles/soot from internal combustion engine exhaust.

Found these though:

China Announces New Measures to Curb Air Pollution

Los Angeles air pollution drops after tailpipe laws

Air pollution data from my local area

A short news item in The Independent about a new study published in The Lancet:

EU air quality rules are still too lax to protect us from pollution, study finds

Monday 09 December 2013

/.../ harmful sooty particles in traffic and factory fumes /.../

A study published in The Lancet estimated that for every 5 micrograms per cubic metre increase in annual exposure to fine-particle pollution, the risk of dying from natural causes rises by 7 per cent. The lead scientist, Dr Rob Beelen from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said: “A difference of 5 micrograms can be found between a location at a busy urban road and at a location not influenced by traffic.”

The scientists pooled data from 22 studies involving 367,251 people. They said the findings showed “significant adverse health effects” even at “concentrations well below the EU annual average air quality limit”.


EU air quality rules are still too lax to protect us from pollution, study finds - Health News - Health Families - The Independent
A while back air pollution was off the charts in Paris. Here’s the thread here on TMC about that:

Paris restricts car use | TMC

An now it’s the UK's and London's turn:

  • More areas of England warned of 'very high' air pollutions
  • David Cameron skips his morning run due to smog
  • Cleaner air forecast for Friday
  • Government sends out conflicting advice about health risks
Smog alert: 'very high' air pollution levels spread across England | Environment | theguardian.com

Today's pollution mix is different from that which plagued Britain 70 years ago. The historic culprit was coal burnt in homes and factories; you could smell it and see it in the tiny bits of carbon or unburned fuel that collected on clothes.

But the pollution now is colourless, odourless and tasteless, and mainly comes in particles so small they can pass through face masks. Traffic, especially diesel engines, is the predominate pollution source in cities.

One reason for the increased pollution is that there are now far more diesel cars. Numbers have increased across Europe by 35% since 1990 and, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers, more than 50% of all cars registered in Britain are now diesel, up from 23% in 2002. One reason for this is that cities and governments give tax incentives for diesels.

What worries medical researchers at Kings college, London, is that the air is now full of nano-sized pollution particles that interact with gaseous co-pollutants and get deep into the body. The more that air pollution from traffic is researched, the more dangerous it appears to be. Last year the World Health Organisation accepted that air pollution could cause cancers. Last month it doubled its estimate of how many people die yearly from this cause. More than seven million deaths, or one in eight of all deaths, are linked to it.

[My underline.]

Diesel, not just dust, has helped create this smog | Environment | The Guardian


Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
An now it’s the UK's and London's turn:

It's not just more diesels, it's also the lax UK inspection laws that didn't even check that the DPF was there. The smoke test used can be passed without a DPF.

At least now the MOT test now requires a check that the DPF hasn't been removed, but it's just a visual inspection, so there'll still be a problem with the people with most reason to delete.

Plus, petrol cars shouldn't be excused. Modern petrol cars are more likely to use direct injection, and direct injection engines produce more small particulates. The emissions standards are set pragmatically and need continual revision.


Active Member
Aug 20, 2013
Diesel, sand, EU manufacturing and EU power generation are all to blame. Add an unusually high pollen count into the mix for allergy sufferers and you have a nice little situation brewing.

Diesel is called out in the reports because it is the primary emission within a city, and, without any wind to blow it away, it can get very concentrated in built-up areas.

This is pretty unpleasant. I don't know how they cope with situation in China, which can be far worse.


Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015
Interesting article about air pollution in cities (The Economist):


Last paragraph:

The best pollution advice of all to people in these cities, though, is: move to America. In New York, levels of NO2 were 20% below the WHO limit, and that is pretty typical of places in the United States, where diesels are less common than in Europe. As the inscription under the Statue of Liberty has it, “Give me your...huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

End quote.

There is a very interesting sub-chart about hourly pollution levels in certain major cities, with Seoul and Hong Kong topping the pollution charts (presumably a proxy for asia as a whole, we all know how polluted Beijing's air can be).

Sorry if the link doesn't work try google: The economist london air pollution
Last edited:


Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015

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