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Is commuting harmful to your health?

Public Health | Dec. 9, 2011

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Jeremy Sarnat uses equipment developed by Georgia Tech to measure the pollutants Atlanta commuters are exposed to inside their cars.

Jeremy Sarnat has an ACE up his sleeve when it comes measuring how commuting affects the health of Atlanta drivers. It also helped him garner a major award for environmental health research.

Sarnat leads the EPA-funded Atlanta Commuters’ Exposure (ACE) study. Using sophisticated air analyzers and other instrumentation developed at Georgia Tech, ACE measures what pollutants drivers are exposed to inside their cars.

Participants go through a two-hour commute in the morning and again in the evening on two different days, driving along “scripted” routes provided by Rollins and Georgia Tech researchers. Most of the time, they drive Atlanta’s busy interstates, although they also traverse some surface streets.

Each of the 100 study participants undergoes a battery of tests, including blood gas and other cardiovascular measurements, the day before their commute and again after finishing their afternoon drive. Half of those enrolled in the study have asthma.

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