- Every school day morning, Mom auto-starts her SUV so it has fifteen minutes to warm up to toasty.
- She and junior get into the car.
- They drive down the driveway.
- They idle by the mailbox until the bus comes.
- Mom does a K-turn and motors back up to the house.
But here is the demented irony:
Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per pound of body weight.
Many people believe that they are protected from air pollution if they remain inside their vehicles. Not so according to a report by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA). CTA found that exposure to most auto pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO), is much higher inside vehicles.
VOCs and CO are linked to serious health problems:
- aggravate bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema and asthma;
- lead to hospital admissions and emergency room visits
- impair the body's immune system defenses, making people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
- cause cancer
- according to the EPA, are proven to "shorten life."
And the highest exposure to these toxins occurs when idling-- sitting in traffic congestion on highways or in a line-up of idling vehicles. (Oh yes, and also when you commute to your mailbox).