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Earth Transportation Science

The World's Fastest-Growing Cause of Death Is Pollution From Car Exhaust 338

pigrabbitbear writes "Cars, once again, are killing us. They're killing us in crashes and accidents, yes, and they're encouraging us to grow obese and then killing us a little more slowly. But, more than ever before, they're killing us with their pollution. Particulate air pollution, along with obesity, is now the two fastest-growing causes of death in the world, according to a new study published in the Lancet. The study found that in 2010, 3.2 million people died prematurely from the air pollution – particularly the sooty kind that spews from the exhaust pipes of cars and trucks. And of those untimely deaths, 2.1 million were in Asia, where a boom in car use has choked the streets of India and China's fast-expanding cities with smog."
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The World's Fastest-Growing Cause of Death Is Pollution From Car Exhaust

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  • no worries (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @02:51PM (#42328307)

    We're seeing this because we're approximately at the peak of oil production. As the reserves dry up this will cease to be a big problem

  • Not just cars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <> on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:01PM (#42328455) Homepage
    In Asia there are a lot of old 2-stroke powered vehicles about, each one of them pumps out up to 50x more pollutant than a relatively new car. Combined with heavy traffic means lots of them idling in the street at any one time. Many of these engines are only a couple of horsepower and cost only a few $100 to replace with a new 4-stroke model but people don't have this kind of money to spare so they are stuck with these old polluting engines.

    Back in the time before carbon offsetting was dismissed as 'buying indulgences' one of the things offsetting companies spent money on was buying 4-stroke petrol engines (or less polluting 2-strokes) to put the old 2-stroke engines out of circulation.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:03PM (#42328473)

    From The Lancet article:

    Interpretation Worldwide, the contribution of different risk factors to disease burden has changed substantially, with a shift away from risks for communicable diseases in children towards those for non-communicable diseases in adults. These changes are related to the ageing population, decreased mortality among children younger than 5 years, changes in cause-of-death composition, and changes in risk factor exposures. New evidence has led to changes in the magnitude of key risks including unimproved water and sanitation, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies, and ambient particulate matter pollution. The extent to which the epidemiological shift has occurred and what the leading risks currently are varies greatly across regions. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the leading risks are still those associated with poverty and those that affect children.

    So we are just moving from underdeveloped causes of death, up to luxury causes of death . . .

    Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    I blame Windows, as a new leading cause of death . . .

  • Re:Not just cars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:24PM (#42328791) Journal

    Because of all the pollution, China is pushing electric hard.
    They've failed to meet their sales targets so far [], but the Chinese government has shown it will burn money to achieve long term goals.

    And since battery technology is the biggest obstacle to lower prices, a Chinese company is buying battery maker A123 Systems.

  • by BeaverCleaver ( 673164 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @05:46PM (#42330675)

    Early catalytic converters were crap. However, here in the 21st century we have "high-flow" cats that don't significantly increase backpressure in the exhaust.

    Othr things that have improved since the 1970s:

    - Horsepower per litre, thanks to alloy blocks, overhead cams, EFI.

    - Fuel consumption per horsepower, thanks to all the above

    - Handling, thanks to disc brakes, independent suspension

    - Safety, thanks to seat belts, crumple zones, ABS

    All that aside, I can see the appeal of a muscle car. If I had the time and money, I'd love to take a big boxy 1970s beast, throw away the ancient cast-iron carburetted engine, and drop in something like the 4.5L Lexus V8. Here in .au these engines are reasonably cheap from wrecked japanese imports. EFI, all-alloy, quad-cam, unleaded fuel friendly, and no dicking aorund tweaking carbs or constantly adjusting ignition points.

    It may annoy the purists, but I would be able to spend more time _driving_ it.

  • by amorsen ( 7485 ) <> on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:46PM (#42331331)

    like trying to pass a truck on the right side while its making a right turn

    That is the fault of the lorry driver. He should have used his mirrors.

    Yes, it's a stupid thing for the cyclist to do, but the lorry driver is still at fault. And don't give me crap about him not being able to see. That problem has been solved ages ago with mirrors. If the driver cannot figure out how to adjust the mirrors, well then he shouldn't have a license.

    Denmark, which is rather full of cyclists, managed a whole year with zero fatalities involving right-turning lorries or buses. Alas, EU regulations mean that most lorry drivers are from Eastern Europe now, and so the murder spree has resumed.

    Also notice that there are practically never any right-turning accidents involving buses. You would think that since most buses are in cities, it would be a common thing. Yet it almost never happens. Again, that points to the vast majority of right-turning accidents being entirely avoidable and the fault of the driver.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.