Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Public Health Issue

There is a lesson here for pregnant mothers. Stay away from freeways.
A team from the University of California, Irvine, has shown that pregnant women living within 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) of a major roadway in Los Angeles are 128% more at risk of giving birth prematurely.
Giving people options is a public health issue. Don't let people tell you otherwise.


Robert said...

Correlation vs causation?

Areas within 1.9M if freeways in Los Angeles tend to be poor neighborhoods whose young residents are on the wrong side of the current medical care rationing scheme, perhaps?

Alon Levy said...

The paper may or may not control for that - the article doesn't say. I looked for the paper on the researcher's homepage, but the homepage hasn't been updated in two years.

Anonymous said...

It's not just the smoke & the fumes of unburned fuel. Particulates made of worn out rubber, motor oil, and brake pads also play a part.

Electric cars still make all those.

arcady said...

Anonymous: good point about the rubber, but electric cars have dynamic brakes, thus leading to much less brake pad wear, and the simplicity of an electric motor means there's almost no need for lubrication. A modern AC induction motor only has one moving part: the rotor, which is a specially shaped piece of aluminum, and the only thing needing lubrication is the bearing. On the other hand, trains also have the issues of brake shoe and steel dust and some amount of drippings of lubrication as well.

Alon Levy said...

Electric cars can weigh a lot less than gas-powered ones, which reduces wear and tear on both the road and the rubber.

Granted it can also go the other way, with electric cars getting bigger since powering them is cheaper, but for identical performance and comfort, an electric car will be lighter than one with an internal combustion engine.

arcady said...

Alon, really? I know electric motors are light, but sufficiently large batteries are still pretty heavy, and that's been a major limiting factor in electric car development.