Do you Smog?

The What, Why & How


What Is It? Smog is a type of air pollution, originally used to describe the smoke and fog created by the burning of large amounts of coal within a city.  Modern smog refers to a type of air pollution caused by traffic emissions – such as from trucks, buses, and automobiles.  The smog in Los Angeles is an example of such air pollution.

Why Do Smog Tests?  The smog check makes sure vehicles meet the government’s requirements for environmental air quality and ensures cars with excessive emissions are repaired to reduce air pollution.  Smog tests are required in many states and counties – be sure to check your specific area’s requirements.

How It Works:  A smog test is performed by putting the vehicle on a platform where the front or back wheels drop down on a spinning tube.  This is so that your car can be accelerated without moving, while a sensor placed inside the exhaust pipe measures the exhaust emitted.  The sensor communicates this information to a computer, thereby displaying whether the vehicle passes the government’s standards.

Tips to Pass Your Smog Test:

  • Make sure your exhaust system has no holes or leaks.  You can fail the smog test if your car emissions are too low as well.
  • Replace any old hoses, air filters, and wires and check your oil.
  • A warm engine is more likely to pass the smog test than a cold one.  Take a 20 minute drive prior to your smog test.

Getting your vehicle smog tested can be a hassle and an added expense, but the benefits far outweigh the cost to keep our air and our planet clean.

Traffic Pollution and Noise Linked to Heart Disease

The Dangers Of Traffic Pollution

Most drivers, including myself tend to blindly jump in the car and take off to wherever it is the destination takes us with no real regards to the impact that our vehicles have on the earth we live in. Yes, I know with busy lives comes busy schedules and much transportation to and from. Nonetheless, we could still do a little something to aide in the efforts of keeping the earth intact. Simply being conscious and aware of what’s going on with the environment is a start. Those of you like me who drive pretty much everywhere, as an alternate mode could take public transportation, carpool, and even ride your bike to work. Just a day or two out of the week would help a great deal. With the recent celebration of Earth Day, the one day out of the year where the community becomes more involved in the preservation of the environment, by participating in a variety of events which bring attention to the world. Created to be an environmental “teach-in” for educating people on the impact they have on the environment and what they could do to make it better, Earth Day reaches more than one billion people in more than 175 countries around the world, inspiring awareness of the environment, spreading appreciation for the Earth and educating people on how they too can help with saving our earth.

Drivers Ed Direct, a California based driving school, compiled a list of some of the best environmental-friendly ‘Green Cars’ to ever roam the roadways. That list included: the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, the electric plug-in Honda Fit EV, the spacious Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, and both the Ford C-Max Energi and the Ford Focus Electric. Still in all, the most successful gas-electric hybrid on the market has got to be the Toyota Prius. It was the first mass-produced hybrid in the country. On a full charge, the Plug-in can travel for roughly 11 miles in electric mode, getting an equivalent of 95 MPG. It then switches to hybrid mode, for which it is rated at a 50 MPG.
Traffic pollution
Aside from saving on gas, and spewing off fewer fumes, who knew that these eco-friendly vehicles could also be a vessel in saving lives? Check this story out:

In a research study which was based on data from the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study concluded that traffic pollution and noise are linked to heart diseases. Exposure to traffic pollution and noise can in the long run lead to atherosclerosis, according to the study. The long-term exposure to particle pollutants of 4,814 participants who live nearby roads with high traffic volume was calculated. The study also took account of road traffic noise and its effect on cardiovascular diseases, as recorded by validated tests. The test group’s level of atherosclerosis was then evaluated by measurement of vascular vessel calcification in the thoracic aorta by computed imaging. Results showed that in 4,238 subjects, small particulate matter and proximity to major roads were both associated with an increasing level of aortic calcification. For every increase in particle volume up to 2.4 micrometers, the degree of calcification increased by 20.7% and went up an extra 10% for every 100 meter of proximity to heavy traffic.

Furthermore, the study also found an increase in atherosclerosis associated with night time noise. “These two major types of traffic emissions help explain the observed associations between living close to high traffic and subclinical atherosclerosis. The considerable size of the associations underscores the importance of long-term exposure to air pollution and road traffic noise as risk factors for atherosclerosis,” concluded Dr. Hagen Kälsch from the West-German Heart Centre in Essen. Fine particle matter and traffic noise are believed to act through similar biologic pathways, thereby increasing cardiovascular risk. They both cause an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system, which feeds into the complex mechanisms regulating blood pressure, blood lipids, and glucose level.