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: Commuting by subway? What you need to know about air quality

Related Stories

Western cities try to stop hungry bears from causing havoc

September 19, 2017

On a recent morning that was chilly with the first nip of fall, Brenda Lee went looking for knocked-over trash cans. She drove her car slowly through alleyways on the west side of this Colorado city, close to where streets ...

Allergy relief do's and don'ts

October 5, 2017

(HealthDay)—As the seasons change, more and more people are sneezing because of allergies. And the numbers are rising, with those in urban areas particularly affected, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head ...

Recommended for you

New Amazon threat? Deforestation from mining

October 18, 2017

Sprawling mining operations in Brazil are destroying much more of the iconic Amazon forest than previously thought, says the first comprehensive study of mining deforestation in the world's largest tropical rainforest.

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption

October 17, 2017

On May 29, 2006, mud started erupting from several sites on the Indonesian island of Java. Boiling mud, water, rocks and gas poured from newly-created vents in the ground, burying entire towns and compelling many Indonesians ...

0 comments

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.