Local News

Researchers To Study Effects Of Air Pollution On State Troopers' Health

Posted August 21, 2001 11:44 a.m. EDT

— Meteorologists often discuss the air quality during a newscast. Pollution - especially from cars - has a lot to do with how good or bad it is. Now researchers are studying what it does to people - like state troopers - who spend hours in their cars everyday.

Air pollution may be more pervasive than we think. The average American spends one and a half hours a day behind the wheel, but state troopers may spend nine hours a day potentially breathing fumes and other bad air.

Scientists are testing troopers, taking blood and strapping them up with wires. For the next six weeks, scientists will monitor their lung function and heart rate.

"You can smell the diesel fuel at accident scenes involving tractor-trailers or big trucks that are operated on diesel fuel, but other than that, I didn't notice anything," says trooper Ray Snead.

"It will certainly give information on what exposure we have on the roads," says UNC researcher Michael Riediker.

Scientists will look at troopers who patrol more in the country than in the city. If there is a big health difference, the

State Highway Patrol

may choose to alternate schedules and routes.