It seemed logical, but Inserm wanted to get to the bottom of it. Cyclists and pedestrians inhale more pollution on the roads, due to physical exercise which increases ventilation.
Soot carbon, this fine and polluting particle generated by road traffic, is the enemy of pedestrians and cyclists. Because of their more intense physical activity than motorists, their ventilation is higher and they therefore inhale greater amounts of soot carbon, according to Inserm.
Pollution affects everyone
To reach this conclusion, scientists from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research worked with the University of La Sorbonne. They followed 280 volunteers for six days in Greater Paris: pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, but also motorists and motorcyclists. The idea was to examine the soot carbon concentration at the nose and mouth.
People traveling without a motor inhale more polluting particles, even if it is necessary to qualify: passengers in cars and on two wheels are also very exposed to ambient pollution due to road traffic. Nevertheless, the additional physical effort required of those who are not motorized obliges them to inhale more carbon soot (one and a half times more in the cyclist than in the motorist).
Cyclists🚲and pedestrians🚶 would inhale➕particles produced by road traffic than users of motorized transport🚗: the 📈 of ventilation due to physical activity would lead to the inhalation of greater amounts of #sootcarbon⬇️https://t.co/dtnDzEkTrG pic.twitter.com/s3kYMuGHDg
— Inserm (@Inserm) January 18, 2022
To reduce the concentration of soot carbon in cities, researchers recommend creating or enlarging sidewalks or creating bicycle lanes. However, you must not stop walking or cycling in town. Quite the contrary! These are activities that are good for your health, despite the greater inhalation of fine particles. And they help to lower the level of pollution in cities…