• Mar 11, 2008
A Dutch study analyzing the effects of diesel soot particles on human brain functions has made its way into the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology, a favorite light read around the Autoblog offices. The research indicates that not only do nanoparticles from diesel fumes make their way up the nasal passages and into your brain, yes your brain, but they also trigger a mental stress response. This is observed through brain wave activity, which, when stressed, reacts by altering typical information processing procedures within the cerebral cortex. While we skipped out on post-Doctoral work to wrench on our rides, we know that anything messing with our cerebral cortex can't be good.

The data was collected through ten volunteer subjects placed in a diesel exhaust filled room for one hour (sound like fun?), that mimicked the environment of a busy street or parking garage. Researchers then monitored the cranium activity of the human lab rats via an electroencephalograph. The findings lead to the conclusion that further investigation is necessary in order to determine the long-term versus short-term impact of these pollutants on human memory and intelligence.

[Source: Drive.au]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Fumes are bad for your brain? Wow, never would have guessed ..... (eyes rolling)
      • 6 Years Ago
      this sounds like the media (and the big 3) trying to limit diesel engines in north america.
      can they do a study on how this differs from the crap in our air already?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, yes, diesel emissions are problematic. Its well-established that they cause cardiovascular and pulmonary trouble, but this is new.

      Now, for those of you who've been in Munich or Paris in rush hour: extrapolate that kind of pollution (and it's nasty; I had throat/eye burn very quickly on a summer weekend in Munich) to a city like Los Angeles, with more people and far more problematic geography. Now you'll understand why CARB has roadblocked diesels.

        • 6 Years Ago
        CARB has not roadblocked diesels. CARB loves the filthy commercial truck diesels, train diesels and ship diesels.
        CARB only roadblocks ultra-clean passenger car and truck diesels.
        CARB would prefer that everyone drive 7 mpg Hummers instead of 50+ mpg diesel cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        CARB has it's head up its ass.

        If it wanted to improve the air quality, it could do 4 simple things:

        Ban two stroke engines of any type.

        Have yearly vehicle inspections instead of every 2 years (unless its a new vehicle, in which case you're exempt for years).

        Remove or tax gross polluters. As in pre-1975 cars. Or all those custom rods. Or the thousands of trashed cars you see tooling around L.A.

        Make motorcycles have similar emissions standards to cars. They currently have basically no emissions controls.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Doctorrr!! Doctorrr!!
      My brain hurts. My brain hurts!"

      "We must remove it!"


      • 6 Years Ago
      Doesn't sound good for anyone living in a large European city like Paris. The diesel soot was so bad the last time I was there that you would blow your nose and black would come out. And that was after a total of only 2 days. I couldn't imagine living there and sucking that chunky air for any length of time. People in the U.S. should consider themselves lucky they aren't overrun with diesel cars and trucks like most European cities.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, the particles that are small enough to make it through your lungs into your blood and from there into your brain are too small to see. Black soot in your handkerchief is unappealing but really just evidence that your mucous membranes are effective at keeping larger particles (~7 microns and above) out of your bloodstream.

        Ironically, the super-fine particles are generated mostly by modern diesels featuring very high fuel injection pressures that reduce soot formation. DPFs do reduce particulate count at all sizes but the really tiny ones remain a cause for concern.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's strange, after a week in Paris last year, I experienced none of the symptoms you describe.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Other than a weird flashback feeling when I smell deisel fumes I also didn't experience the black snot effect. And I was in Rome and Naples, two small yet densely packed cities. I have a feeling this is about as reality based as having to wait six months for a hip replacement in canada and Hillary's lesbian affair with Vince Foster.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I got black snot when I was in London. Now I know why...
      • 6 Years Ago
      "After about 30 minutes, brain wave patterns displayed a stress response"

      Sitting in a room smelling fumes for an hour would do that to anyone. Did they have a control experiment with some different fumes? This just stinks of doomsday journalism.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ... and the gas fumes were found not only to have anti-oxidants and low cards in them, but they were recommended for curing cancer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So people think only Amercians come up with stupid studies and waste money?
      • 6 Years Ago
      This isn't the first study confirming that diesel emissions are quite dangerous compared to those of gasoline engines.

      TTAC had an execellent article on the reality of mainstream diesel engines.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/editorials/the-truth-about-diesels-2/

      The Australian government also conducted an extensive study on diesel emissions and it's not pretty.

      http://blogs.drive.com.au/2007/06/the_truth_about_diesel.html

      http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=40556&vf=12&pg=1

      Let Europe deal with their diesel smog, we'll deal with hybrids.
      • 6 Years Ago
      AND I let my subscription to Particle and Fibre Toxicology lapse.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Must be what happened to them there AFA folks from the Ford crisis.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i really can not believe that!!!my brain hurts!
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