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Paints, Pesticides and Perfume: Science Magazine Discovers More Than Cars to Blame for Smog

Research shows that car emissions are not solely to blame for air pollution in major cities.

Those who have driven into any major city on a road trip can think of a couple things when they near their destination:

  1. Oh my god, I can't wait to get to Disneyland!
  2. The concert is going to be awesome!
  3. I can't believe she's marrying him, etc...

But something else literally hovers over those thoughts, and that's the thick, warm blanket of smog boiling above.

For years environmentalists have lambasted automobiles as the scourge of our urban air quality. But now it seems that car emissions are are getting a break.

A recent article from Science magazine tells that paints, pesticides, and other products are to blame for the billowing clouds of smog hanging over cities like Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, etc. Bet you don't feel so bad about your dual exhaust F-250 (if you ever did feel bad, that is).

Organic Growth

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Researchers put volatile organic compounds (VOCs) under the microscope to better understand other possible pollutants. A VOC reacts with air to produce ozone and that haze that you see when you're driving in from the suburbs.

VOCs have been creating health hazards more abundantly in the last century and have lead to respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic bronchitis. In fact, asthma has steadily been increasing in recent decades, due in part to bad air quality.

But while cars and trucks have long been the focal point when it comes to holding blame for pollution, the new work details that chemical productions are just as much to blame.

Emission of Guilt

Car emissions are still being held accountable for their impact on the environment and air quality, but the research conducted showed that pesticides, coatings, inks, adhesives, and personal care products (damn you, deodorant body spray) produce more than double the pollution of cars.

For years U.S. inventories have misunderstood the impact of these other factors and given cars more of a bad rap. In fact researchers compared emissions from houses and commercial buildings to outdoor measurements around Los Angeles. So, basically, every time you spray your hairspray over your blonde coif you're turning your house into Pollutionville, U.S.A.

So, maybe the best thing for your health is to get out of your house and go take a drive somewhere.

NEXT: Why Electric Cars Won't Save The Earth

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