I am thinking that I should support "traffic free zones", "road congestion charges", "electric powered vehicles", and perhaps even city-wide electric tram or train systems. Edit

This is because I have been disturbed by research that seems to show that mothers who are exposed to pollutants from automobiles are giving birth to children of reduced intelligence. [1].

It therefore looks as if "unleaded", hasn't been the complete solution I thought it was, and more drastic solutions are needed.

Admittedly, this is the first report I have seen, it only involved 249 children, and was limited to New York, so more research is needed (any Universities/funding agencies listening here?). On the other hand, the effect was large (~4.5 IQ points or almost 1/3 rd of a standard deviation [2]), the study was published in a peer reviewed journal, and since it only measured IQ, the results hint at other negative mental effects. The new (July 2009) research also sits alongside previous research showing that particulates, ozone, and NOx are also reducing people's health and wellbeing. I am therefore thinking that I should choose one of the following...

  1. Put income and convenience before IQ and wellbeing, so I can ignore any further research I come across.
  2. Hope that in spite of New York's experience, existing UK air quality targets[2] of 0.25 ng/m3 are adequate and will be met.
  3. Look out for and support the traffic control measures and clean-public-transport initiatives that come up from time to time.
  4. Buy an electric car.

Perhaps the best response would be high taxes for bringing petrol/gassoline powered vehicles into centres of population (while electric vehicles remain untaxed). In London, England, in spite of problems, [3], this has brought in some revenue, reduced traffic at times, and given an incentive to use more environmentally friendly transport.

Or do people think this would do more harm than good? What would happen if our Council decided that the 4.5% reduction in IQ was resulting in a 4.5% reduction in the number of problems solved and the amount or value of the work done throughout the city. They might then say that this justified measures that priced a similar 4.5% of the shoppers and employees out of the city? The immediate reduction in traffic might be beneficial as in London, but I don't know whether the city would strangle itself before people managed to change to electric vehicles in order to avoid the tax?

Since the particular pollution measured in this study was PAH, other things people might want to comment on are...

  • Are there any placebo controlled trials on the effect of PAH on animals brains, and are there any counter measures?
  • Shouldn't we be banning housing developments near Motorways, or at least mapping pollution (E.g. by looking at tree bark [4]) so that house buyers can decide where not to live (as in [5])
  • Do the leaflets for would be Mums have to be amended to say "No Smoking", "No drinking", "No living in the City"?
  • Should "pollution free" public housing be offered to pregnant mums?
  • Do we need to move our maternity hospitals out of the city - or at least measure the PAH concentration in them?
  • Does somebody want to offer out of city "retreats" for concerned women to stay at while pregnant?
  • Does anybody have any ideas for a pollution free vehicle, or would they prefer better public transport. I do hope people have a go at this problem, because it seems much more tractable, and therefore a good preliminary to solving global warming. --Poterson 15:47, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


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