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New Study shows Asphalt road causes air pollution, harm people

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Asphalt is a major cause of air pollution that harms the environment, a new study from Yale University has shown.

The study reveals that asphalt — the material used to construct roads and parking lots around the world — contributes to air pollution that is harming both the environment and the people who live in it.

The study showed that the effect is at its worst on hot, sunny days, with the intense heat increasing the number of harmful particles the asphalt emits into the air and the environment.

Pollution emitted by asphalt is not always factored into the figures when assessing air quality in major cities, especially in Africa.

But the study found this to be worrisome because this material contains hazardous pollutants that are slowly released back into the environment, particularly when the material is baking under a hot sun.

As the amount of air pollution resulting from combustion — such as from car engines — decreases, analysts have warned of  an increase in non-combustion air pollutants as contributing to organic compounds and secondary organic aerosols, more commonly called SOAs.

SOAs are a big source of an air pollutant called PM2.5, which refers to polluting particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers across.

PM2.5 particles have a major negative impact on public health, reflecting the need for monitoring air quality and implementing steps to curb such pollutants.

The study showed that tests involving asphalt heated to different temperatures found emission of various organic compounds, a development that was worst at higher temperatures, but that was ultimately sustained long-term.

Pollution emissions from asphalt can also be compounded by solar radiation, the study found.

 

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