Catalytic converters: source of pollution?

Dec 06, 2005

Massachusetts scientists say toxic metals from automotive catalytic converters have been detected for the first time in U.S. urban air.

The research was conducted by Swedish scientists working in collaboration with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The scientists found high concentrations of platinum, palladium, rhodium and osmium in air over the Boston metropolitan area. Although the particles are not yet considered a serious health risk, evidence suggests they potentially could pose a future danger as worldwide car sales increase from an estimated 50 million in 2000 to more than 140 million in 2050.

Finding ways to "stabilize" those metal particles within the converters "should be a priority to limit their potential impact," says lead researcher Sebastien Rauch of Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg, Sweden. Scientists have also detected elevated concentrations of the elements in Europe, Japan, Australia, Ghana, China and Greenland.

Catalytic converters reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants.

The study is to appear in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Chemical Society's journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

Aug 28, 2014

Rice University scientists have produced a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to ...

Nano-supercapacitors for electric cars

Jul 01, 2014

Innovative nano-material based supercapacitors are set to bring mass market appeal a good step closer to the lukewarm public interest in Germany. This movement is currently being motivated by the advancements ...

Recommended for you

Image: Rainbow aurora captured from space station

9 minutes ago

Auroras occur when particle radiation from the Sun hits Earth's upper atmosphere, making it glow in a greenish blue light. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has one of our planet's best views of this phenomenon, ...

Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

3 hours ago

People from New Mexico to Montana saw the bright object break apart as it moved slowly northward across the night sky. Witnesses described it as three "rocks" with glowing red and orange streaks.

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

3 hours ago

For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter ...

User comments : 0