Comparison of charged nanoparticle concentrations near busy roads and overhead high-voltage power lines (Abstract, E.R. Jayaratne, X. Ling, L. Morawska, May 28, 2015)
Also discussed here: Roadside air can be more charged than under a high-voltage power line (Science Daily, May 28, 2015)
Today we review research from Brisbane, Australia, comparing the number of charged particles emitted by vehicles near highways to what is found under power lines. Results indicate more than twice as many charged vehicles near roads. The charges alone do not present a health hazard but the fact that the particulates are charged means that they adhere more closely to the lungs when they are breathed in – and this as earlier research has shown presents a number of health impacts which would be increased by the electrical charging
“ a large number of charged particles in urban environments come from motor vehicle emissions ….within 10 metres of a freeway, charged particles were up to 15 times more concentrated than beneath high-voltage power lines."
“the concentration of charged nanoparticles found near two freeways carrying around 120 vehicles per minute exceeded the corresponding maximum concentrations under two corona-emitting overhead power lines by as much as a factor of 5”
“most pronounced when a significant fraction of traffic consisted of heavy-duty diesel vehicles which typically have high particle and charge emission rates.”
“while there was no evidence that breathing in air ions was a health risk, approximately one-half of the fine particles that we inhale during normal breathing are deposited in our lungs. Therefore, it is not surprising that several studies have demonstrated a link between particulate pollution from exhaust fumes and adverse health effects.”
"We do not believe that ions are dangerous -- the danger comes from the pollutants. The ions merely assist the particles to stick to the lungs. If there are no dangerous particles in the air to attach to the ions, there is no risk of ill health."