Gas Engines May Be Dirtier Than Diesels in One
SUNDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Gasoline engines produce
far more of a particular type of air pollution than diesel engines,
according to a new study.
The researchers analyzed air pollution in Los Angeles and were
surprised to find that gasoline engines were responsible for most
secondary organic aerosols (SOAs), which are tiny particles that
can harm human lung and heart health, reduce visibility and affect
The study confirmed that diesel trucks were used less on
weekends than on weekdays, while the use of gasoline-powered
vehicles remained nearly constant throughout the week. This led the
researchers to expect that weekend levels of SOAs would be lower
than weekday levels.
Instead, the researchers found that weekend and weekday levels
of SOAs were about the same. This means that gasoline engines are
the main source of SOAs, according to the study, slated for
publication in the journal
Geophysical Research Letters.
"The contribution of diesel to SOA is almost negligible," study leader Roya Bahreini, a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, said in a journal news release. "Even being conservative, we could deduce from our results that the maximum upper limit of contribution to SOA would be 20 percent."
That means that gasoline engines account for 80 percent or more
"While diesel engines emit other pollutants such as soot and nitrogen oxides, for organic aerosol pollution they are not the primary culprit," said Bahreini, who also works at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory.
The results suggest that finding ways to reduce SOA levels in
emissions from gasoline engines could benefit human health and the
The American Lung Association has more about
air pollution and health.
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