Health Effects from Auto Pollution

Man with air pollution mask

The list of detrimental health effects from vehicle air pollution sounds like a little shop of horrors. Outdoor air pollution from cars, SUVs, trucks, and buses:

  • Cause acute respiratory problems, temporary decreases in lung capacity, and inflammation of lung tissue
  • Impair the body’s immune system
  • Reduce the release of oxygen to body tissues
  • Increase a person’s risk of cancer-related death
  • Contribute to birth defects, low birth weight, and infant deaths
  • Harm blood vessels in healthy individuals
  • Make healthy active children 3 to 4 times more likely to develop asthma

If the air pollution doesn’t kill you, getting run over just might. During the 20th century, 250 million Americans were maimed or injured in automobile accidents. Car crashes are the top killers of children in the United States and elsewhere. Every day in the U.S., an average of over 120 people are killed in car accidents.

And we all run the risk of a slow death (or at least a diminished quality of life) as a result of driving-related stress (a.k.a. road rage) and our lazy “drive everywhere” attitude. A century ago, the typical American walked three miles a day. Now, we drive our SUVs to the gym. Cars undoubtedly have contributed to the decline of exercise in America, and the advance of our obesity epidemic.


  • Fausto Barros

    We need to start doing something. There is alot of imformation about hybrid cars do you thing is the best idea to have hybrid car? :) :?

  • Look out below

    Cutting back on gasoline useage is well needed. Last year I visited West Hartford, CT and I saw a hybrid city bus, something that is well needed in larger cities like NYC. The problem with them is that they cost too much to manufacture so the cities refuse to change. Nobody likes to drive behind a bus while in the city, besides the fact that they are slow as hell and are inconsiderate to other drivers, but because of everytime they take off they release out a giant puff of smoke into your car. Switching to them would cut back on smog created by gas powered cars at a major rate and would save on gas also.

  • hippie love

    Im doing a research paper on this… it’s so sad, our world is soo dirty and it seems like no one cares. We’re all so stupid we’re evenually going to do irreversable damage to ourselves and the earth. will anyone care then? :sigh

  • Sterd

    I never knew that cars could cause all these problems. People need to make the right decisions and turn this disaster around.

  • cool dood

    The beautiful islands the Maldives would be gone if global warming continues.Florida will be gone but what’s cool is that they will build an underwater Disneyworld.

  • Amanda

    I agree that America’s weight gain problem stems partially from the luxury of personal transportation, but how about us Floridians who live in the suburbs…there are 0 sidewalks, so we actually do need to take our “SUVs to the gym” and drive everywhere. Maybe if the local government would make it easier for us to walk inside of ride, we wouldn’t be so dependent on our cars.

  • James

    It is a well known fact that global warming is taking place. However, scientists have done extensive experimentation and have prooved that the percentile increase of CO2 is not enough to cause even 1/100000 of the temperature increase that we have.
    But, there are 2 “green” establishments, which have gone to the extent of murdering these scientists to keep this a secret. Try it yourself…make a model and see for yourself.
    Cars and Global Warming is a myth. Don’t fall for it!

  • James

    Make 2 model “worlds”. Put CO2 etc. in and see the results after x amount of time. Use the Bofh constant in your analysis to see the percentile increase in CO2 and its impact on your world. I have worked 13 years of my life to write a detailed paper with thousands of experiments and models to disprove this theory.
    I know a lot about this, I even did a science fair project about it when I was a child. Remember:
    Cars and Global Warming is a myth. Don’t fall for it!

  • Confused

    Looking for some solid proof that hybrid cars have not substantially lessened the effects of global warming…

  • mr.pink

    i think global warming is ridiculous. something needs to be done! :(

  • Amy

    Global warming is here and real and its going to kill us if we don’t do something about it PERIOD!

  • J

    The biggest problem with realizing global warming as a problem is the fact that in order to get something accomplished, there has to be collective action.

    Any small changes we make to our lifestyles will end up with results. It doesn’t have to be dramatic—it just has to be some result.

    This could mean not running the washing machine on ‘hot’ or replacing your bulbs with energy efficient ones…

    or… buying a hybrid car.

    Support the research of alternate fuel and call your local energy company for inquiry on how you can obtain “green” power. The wind, water, a sun can provide us with alternate forms of energy. There is ethanol, hydrogen, biodeisel, and other types of oil being trialed for cars.

  • bob

    Cause acute respiratory problems, temporary decreases in lung capacity, and inflammation of lung tissue. Impair the body’s immune system.
    Reduce the release of oxygen to body tissues.
    Increase a person’s risk of cancer-related death.
    Contribute to birth defects, low birth weight, and infant deaths. Harm blood vessels in healthy individuals. Make healthy active children 3 to 4 times more likely to develop asthma. :? :? :cry :cry

  • Monica

    My comment about this: air pollution can harm everyone even we are taking care of ourselves :? :x :sigh

  • sara

    James, how can you say that vehicular emissions are not directly related to global warming? and besides, your “model worlds” cannot be 100% accurate, because they are not as complex and fragile as our environment is… not to mention, you are lacking an ozone layer and an energy source to TRULY complete the experiment

  • Garfunkel

    I have never ever ever ever ever ever ever seen any one in my ENTIRE life wearing a mask because of car pollution!!!

  • i just dont understand

    i get the whole thing about global warming but sitting here in this little chat will help nothing. i came across this while working on a report and it’s just sad to see all of you people complaing but yet still (probably) not doing anyhting about it.

  • KC

    I think hybrid cars is the way to go because it will get better gas mileage. :grin 8)

  • anonomous

    as a president once said
    “we need to go back to the simple days”

  • Kenovich

    Sure, gas mileage goes up, SLIGHTLY, but these things are still running on petroleum in an extremely impractical way. Fuel injectors spray liquid fuel in the form of droplets into the cylinders, and the resulting burn produces all those pollutants that we are having so much trouble with, plus it gums up the engine with excess carbon. Now if you completely evaporate a gallon of gasoline, and then ignite the fumes, the resulting explosion would have approximately the same force as a case of TNT. If you burn gasoline fumes, you get a clean, blue flame, with nothing but CO2 and an extremely miniscule amount of carbon. Oh yeah, and some water, too. So, if you were to burn gasoline fumes, rather than liquid gasoline, with the right air mixture you could run a standard gasoline engine with a little less than one percent of the harmful emissions, and with an incredible increase in fuel economy, theoretically with no necessary loss of horsepower and with dramatically increased engine life due to a lack of carbon build-up. The concept has been utilized successfully in the past (most notably by one Tom Ogle, U.S. Patent no. 4,177,779. also see the 2005 KVIA news article found at http://www.kvia.com/global/story.asp?s=4137051&ClientType:Printable), but only by aspiring individuals, and it has been intentionally ignored by the automotive industry for decades. Of course, there are several key things to consider regarding this. Firstly, what would happen to the oil companies if the value of gasoline dropped to thirty cents per gallon? Even though humanity and the environment would benefit from such technology, why would they ever suffer it to exist if it would destroy their companies? Secondly, if suddenly the United States had more than plenty of oil to fuel its population, how would that effect our foreign relations? Would it still be so imperative to have a democracy in Iraq? I believe that the benefits of production-level fuel vaporization technology greatly outweigh the problems, but the power of the oil industry as it currently is is just too important to its investors, its owners, and our government leadership.
    But just think of the kind of gas mileage you could get with a system like that! Think of how much more you could get if you utilized hybrid technology with a system like that! Think of how much cleaner our environment could be!

  • mike bretton

    We all want and need a car, but we all want and need to live too.

  • kp

    Hybrids use less gas help less pollution even by the littlest measurements but they help don’t they in my opinion hybrids are the right thing to do

  • Tyler Schneider

    i think that everybody should car pool and the government needs to make more means of public transportation.

  • CarliMe

    I agree that the government needs more ways of public transportation. Where we live, there is barely any. No subways, because of our aquifer, and no major bus systems etc. We need public transportation! We don’t even have sidewalks for crying out loud. At least NY has a subway!

  • Lance

    Hybrid cars haave a big impact on the environment. My friend bought one and she absolutely loves it because she knows she is helping the environment. Can you believe that you can save over $1,000! i was blown away. of course, i would never get one because it doesn’t comliment my cheek bones.

  • Chris

    Ok I am not here to debate Global Warming by emissions from vehicles.
    The Global warming folk’s will never change there mind’s and the people that don’t believe in global warming will never change their’s.
    However i do want to suggest something .
    Hybrid’s are nothing more than a stepping stoner to something else….what it will be i don’t know at this toime but Hybrid’s are not the car of the future…they are very expensive to repair and to maintain. By the way American’s drive and abuse their car/truck. These vehicle’s will never be more than a faze for the GREEN people.
    Some true fact’s about CERTIAN hybrid’s:

    If the traction control fail’s and it is out of warranty…it will cost 75% of the new car purchase to replace the part. example if the car cost 22,000 new and you drive it 6 year;’s and the Induction motor fails and it’s out of warranty it will cost approx 16,000 to repair it…it HAS to be replaced not re-built.
    Some Hybrid’s use the AC to cool the batteries and if the AC fail’s you HAVE to replace it, some of the electric AC compressor’s will run over 2000.00 to repair…..these are not warrantied for 100k.
    Some have no key, just a smart key.So unlike the older car’s if you leave a key hidden in your car in case you lose one…..all anyone has to do is break into the car and put their foot on the gas and push the start button and drive away, because the computer think’s the OWNER is in the car…SO DO NOT put a spare key anywhere near the car.
    There are alot of other things i don’t have time to mention in detail…but a few more….
    Some car’s you CAN NOT change the stereos because they are designed to help eliminate noise vibration when the car cut’s cylinder usage to conserve fuel….some you cannot put any other wheel’s or rim’s than what the manufacturer put on from the factory or it will void the warranty…putting the wrong Oil in will Void the warranty.Some have bladder tank’s that when the fuel pump goes out or you need to replace the filter…The ENTIRE tank will need replaced.
    The bottom line is Hybrid’s are a TOOL used in the greenhouse war’s.
    The battery voltage is enough to KILL a person…so you don’t want to mess with those vehicles unless you are a trained Tech.
    So far from my research 7 people have died due to being careless or just not knowing about these car’s while trying to repair them.
    I for one as a Technician will study and learn all I can and when one comes in my shop I will be prepared to work on it.

  • mike

    the eir we breath today is not as bad as we will in a 100 years from now but we can change that by stating now by recycleing stuff and you more hybreds i no i am just 11 but we can make a jeange.

  • james#2

    its all shinanigans if you ask me! im with you james#1 you da man!

  • ray ray

    i want to get a hybrid.

  • ashley

    put down your greenpeace newsletter and get a grip, people.
    we’ll be okay.

  • Anonymous

    if we just sit here and wait for someone to die we will never acoplish somthing .we need to do somthin no .thing like walk to the store if its a blook away .car pullng always works ..soo try to help our world ..remember someone is dieing rite now .

  • hailey

    get a grip will be fine is not true …do whats right ..

  • Hannah

    yeah i mean if we don’t do something soon people are going 2 die and were gonna experience global warming at its worst!!!!!

  • Bobbb

    Hybrid cars can only save us from smog, not global warming. If all of America stopped buying oil, India and China, two growing countries would buy it all and use it. America alone can’t do it. The whole world has to stop using oil, and with growing countries thats just about impossible. Its going to be too late when we finaly get everyone in on it

  • khooper

    Individuals can contribute to cleaner air by choosing cleaner sources of energy and using energy more efficiently. For instance, carpooling or taking public transportation, maintaining your bloody car emissions controls on one’s cars, walking or biking to work or school can make a difference. Limiting the use of fireplaces or wood and coal burning stoves, and seeking out more efficient heating and cooling systems can also contribute to cleaner air.

  • Bobby Wilson

    Maybe if hippie stopped complaining we could have some time to do something about
    :sigh

  • Arnold Schwazenager

    Maybe if all you dumb tree huggers stopped blogging 24/8 and went outside and stopped hugging the trees to death we would have some left you the secret covert op agent on car pollution
    I LOVE CREAM CHEESE

  • tangie

    what does pollution cause

  • anonymous

    why dont the scientests work on fixing the amount of pollution and gas mileage problems together? it would help the environment and for some, have extra money from not having to pay so much on gas, to spend on other things and help the economy?

  • Tom

    Wait until the ozone produced by the arcing in the electric motors from hybrids and electric cars starts causing smog and respiratory related death…

  • Automotive engineering major

    ???? the arching that takes place in an electric motor is just a spark jumping from one place to another. A spark is just a bunch of electrons tring to find ground somewhere. a spark doesnt “give off” anything, so how would it cause produce ozone? does anyone know what vehicle has the largest carbon footprint? well, ill start by saying the vehicle with the smallest carbon footprint is the dodge neon, an inexpensive, little, 4 cylinder 2 door car. okay, ready for this, the vehicle with the largest footprint, the vehicle everyone is hoping will save us all, is the toyota prius. the reason being is, from the early stages of devolopment (drawings, models, prototypes, testing, production) in every one of these stages carbon had to be burned producing pollution. from making the paper for the drawings, making the pens and pencils for drawing the pictures, to making and baking the clay for the models, to making the parts for the prototypes plus the machines that make the prototypes had to be made, to testing, any fuels used to power the prototypes, all the way to mass producing the vehicle in a factory, which needs heat for the workers to stay warm in cold months. all the way to paying the engineers with money and checks that were made in a mint that has machines that used carbon to be made and produced. its a never neding cycle. and if you campared every part of evey little bit of carbon that was used from the dodge neon to the toyota prius the neon would have less carbon used in all the steps and stages.

  • Anonymous

    i agree

  • Anonymous

    no its not real. there is no proof. its a cycle the earth repeats. they have to info on it.

  • Diablo 3 beta keys

    NO U

  • Anonymous

    People complain about all the health issues we all face. When will all realize we bring it upon our self. There needs to be balance in the environment. We are self destructing our home, our world! Without everyone as a whole contributing to the solution there will be a never ending debate with a never ending problem.

  • Emmi bances

    Pollution is what i and my earth hates :P……..Yes we need to step up and decrease the pollution from Auto vehicles…….I would also want to raise a thing that we also need to control the radiations from technology……This can impact more Heart disease

  • The Reason

    why are we soo dumb

  • Amed

    It depends on which one.
    Now electric cars are the best choice. Try the Chevy Volt.

  • Jade

    I’ve heard in a health information exchange program about a line from a Mercedes campaign, I think, that said something like: We don’t drive the car anymore, it drives us. I believe that to be true, we are buying cars simply for having them and we use them as feet. This is becoming a sad world.

  • Anonymous

    rwtgh 3y4ythg 5t

  • kid

    sooo sad

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