Study: Dirty windows aid air pollution

May 14, 2007

Canadian scientists have determined dirty windows located in metropolitan urban areas might be hidden contributors to air pollution.

J.D. Donaldson and colleagues at the University of Toronto said the grime that accumulates on windows -- as well as buildings, roads and other surfaces in urban areas -- could be an important source of nitrogen oxide air pollutants that combine with other air pollutants to form smog.

In the study, Donaldson and his team focused on urban surface films, often termed "window grime," as a potential contributor to air pollution. The films contain nitrogen compounds, which disappear at rates that can't be explained by obvious losses due to rain washout. In addition, traditional models of urban air pollution suggest the existence of an unrecognized source for a nitrogen compound involved in smog formation.

The study presents experimental evidence suggesting windows and other surfaces in urban areas may be sites where "inactive" nitrogen oxides might be transformed into "active" forms and be released into the atmosphere. That transformation might occur in a process triggered by sunlight shining on film-covered surfaces, the scientists said.

The research is to be published in the June 15 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Great Barrier Reef stays on UN watch list

Related Stories

Shedding light on untapped information in photons

May 25, 2015

Conventional optical imaging systems today largely limit themselves to the measurement of light intensity, providing two-dimensional renderings of three-dimensional scenes and ignoring significant amounts ...

Clean smell doesn't always mean clean air

Oct 29, 2014

Some of the same chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere as a result of smog and ozone are actually taking place in your house while you are cleaning. A researcher in Drexel's College of Engineering ...

Using sound to picture the world in a new way

Oct 22, 2014

Have you ever thought about using acoustics to collect data? The EAR-IT project has explored this possibility with various pioneering applications that impact on our daily lives. Monitoring traffic density ...

Recommended for you

Great Barrier Reef stays on UN watch list

3 hours ago

The Great Barrier Reef will remain under surveillance but not be listed as endangered, according to a draft recommendation to the UN's World Heritage Committee, published on Friday.

Food or fuel? How about both?

7 hours ago

In the United States, federal mandates to produce more renewable fuels, especially biofuels, have led to a growing debate: Should fuel or food grow on arable land? Recent research shows farmers can successfully, ...

Using desalination to address drought

7 hours ago

"It's a very interesting time in the water industry," says Carlos Riva '75, CEO of Poseidon Water, a company that is drawing attention as it develops, in Southern California, what will be the largest seawater ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.