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: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hunting for dark matter in a gold mine

Dec 09, 2014

"What really impressed me was the trip down," said astrophysicist James Buckley, PhD, speaking of the vertical mile he traveled to get to the site of an underground dark-matter experiment. "You can see you're ...

Termite of the sea's wood destruction strategy revealed

Nov 10, 2014

Shipworms, known as 'termites of the sea,' have vexed mariners and seagoing vessels for centuries. A recent study involving scientists from the Ocean Genome Legacy Center of New England Biolabs at Northeastern ...

Sources of the solar wind

Nov 05, 2014

The solar chromosphere is the region between the Sun's surface and its hot, million-degree corona. Within this complex interface zone, only a few thousand kilometers deep, the density of the gas drops by ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

15 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

22 hours ago

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

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.