Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
Printer-friendly version Share:  Share this page on FacebookShare this page on TwitterShare this page by emailShare this page with other services


Can I See Your ID? | The Universe of Oil | Fuzzy, Sexy Killers | Greenwashing Golf |
The Sock Gremlin | On the One Hand ... | Shredded Paper Will Save Us | Up to Speed

Peter and Maria Hoey


Ever wonder why drivers make such terrible decisions? The answer may be in what they're spewing into the air. Tailpipe emissions contain a class of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may have a lasting effect on the brain. Mice that were raised breathing air piped in from Los Angeles freeways show significant brain damage, while a stack of recent studies correlate prenatal exposure to car exhaust with childhood autism, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, sluggishness, and reduced reasoning ability.


In a recent study of how city dwellers cope with urban stress, Professor Izhak Schnell of Tel Aviv University finds that small doses of carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust pipes cast a narcotic lull over his subjects as they walked around the city, helping them cope with the noise and crowds. Of course, what the university's press release calls "a boon to the well- being of urbanites" others might call "brain damage." But heck, if you're going to lose brain cells, why get all stressed out about it? —Dashka Slater

NEXT: Shredded Paper Will Save Us

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2015 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.