Navigation Links
Greek economic crisis leads to air pollution crisis
Date:12/19/2013

In the midst of a winter cold snap, a study from researchers in the United States and Greece reveals an overlooked side effect of economic crisis dangerous air quality caused by burning cheaper fuel for warmth.

The researchers, led by Constantinos Sioutas of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, show that the concentration of fine air particles in one of Greece's economically hardest hit areas has risen 30 percent since the financial crisis began, leading to potential long-term health effects.

These fine particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter (approximately 1/30th the diameter of a human hair) are especially dangerous because they can lodge deep into the tissue of lungs, according to the EPA.

"People need to stay warm, but face decreasing employment and rising fuel costs," explained Sioutas, senior author of the study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and Fred Champion Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the USC Viterbi School. "The problem is economic hardship has compelled residents to burn low quality fuel, such as wood and waste materials, that pollutes the air."

Unemployment in Greece climbed above 27 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, heating oil prices have nearly tripled in Greece during the Greek financial crisis of the last few years driven in part by a fuel tax hike. Cold Greeks, it would appear (according to the air quality), have turned to wood as a major fuel source.

In their study, the researchers collected air samples that supported anecdotal evidence of Greek residents burning of wood and trash for heating. Taken over two-month stretches in Winter 2012 and again in Winter 2013, the samples reveal a dramatic increase in airborne fine particles since the beginning of the economic crisis.

The concentration of these particles, which has been linked to increased risk for heart disease and respiratory problems, rose from 26 to 36 micrograms per square meter over the study period, the researchers found. The EPA standard in the United States is an average of 20 micrograms per square meter over a 24-hour period. Worse yet, the concentrations of carcinogenic organic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) increased five-fold during the study period, the researchers found.

The concentration of the particulates was highest in the evening, presumably when more people were burning fuel for warmth, the study found. An analysis of the air samples also showed a two-to-five-fold increase in the airborne concentrations of organic compounds such as levoglucosan, mannosan and galactosan, which indicate the burning of biomass. The presence of these compounds has been strongly correlated in past research to oxidative stress in human cells, which is linked to inflammation, aging and the development of age-related diseases.

"Wood's cheap, but it's having a major negative impact on air quality," Sioutas said. The authors recommend active involvement of public authorities and local agencies to implement effective air pollution control strategies. They suggest increasing natural gas distribution in residential areas as a practical long-term solution. Catalytic domestic wood burners and increasing the energy efficiency of existing buildings might be additional possible solutions, according to the report.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. EAU Patient Information now available in Spanish and Greek
2. Heightened Security Threats and Economic Issues Provide Fillip to Global Civil and Military Biometrics Market, Says Frost & Sullivan
3. Analysis raises atmospheric, ecologic and economic doubts about forest bioenergy
4. Polluting China for the sake of economic growth
5. New evidence that many genes of small effect influence economic decisions and political attitudes
6. Socioeconomics may affect toddlers exposure to flame retardants
7. Scientific meeting at Virginia Tech will make more than $2 million economic impact
8. An economical, effective and biocompatible gene therapy strategy promotes cardiac repair
9. Study shows economic feasibility for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air
10. Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression
11. Global economic pressures trickle down to local landscape change, altering disease risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: LEGX ... Protect are pleased to announce our successful effort to ... of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against counterfeiting and ... athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ongoing proof ... Bill Bollander , CEO states, "By inserting ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... March 22, 2016 ... Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, ... Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... to reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... March 22, 2016 Unique ... passcodes for superior security   ... provider of secure digital communications services, today announced it ... and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial ... and voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)...   MedyMatch Technology Ltd ., the data analytics healthcare ... support tools in the emergency room, announced today that it ... Technology Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. The Conference ... National Life Sciences and Technology Week, and is being held ... Tel Aviv, Israel . Gene Saragnese ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has released its latest ... The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both opportunities and challenges ... lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market has grown and ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... RoviSys, a leading independent ... Aurora, Ohio, has broken ground on a new building in Holly Springs, NC. ... this new location solidifies a commitment to business in the region. The new ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2016 , ... Kablooe Design, ... goods companies, today announced its official 25th anniversary of the business. “We have worked ... so grateful to our customers for the privilege and honor of serving their product ...
Breaking Biology Technology: