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Roadside Air More Charged than under a High-Voltage Power Line

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Despite community concerns about living under high-voltage power lines, a new study published in Science of the Total Environment has found that there are up to 15 times more charged particles beside busy roads.

“Although the effects of ions and charged particles generated by high-voltage power lines on human health is still open to conjecture, there has been a lot of attention on increased exposure due to expanding power networks in urban residential areas,” said

Dr Rohan Jayaratne of Queensland University of Technology. “However, what people do not realise is that a large number of charged particles in urban environments come from motor vehicle emissions.

“We found that the concentration of charged particles found near the Gateway and South East Freeway near Brisbane was far greater than those under corona ion-emitting overhead power lines. The difference was more than twice, even up to a distance of 40 metres. This was especially the case when the traffic included heavy-duty diesel trucks, and I think it is something to consider when new housing estates are planned.”

While Jayaratne said that there is no evidence that breathing in air ions is a health risk, approximately one-half of the fine particles that we inhale during normal breathing are deposited in our lungs. Therefore, it is not surprising that several studies have demonstrated a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.