A new research study conducted at Queensland University of Technology’s International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health found that ultrafine particles can become concentrated inside of roadway tunnels at levels sufficiently high enough to potentially to drivers and passengers.
Study co-author and director of Queensland University of Technology’s International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Professor Lidia Morawska, said road tunnels were locations where maximum exposure to dangerous ultrafine particles in addition to other pollutants occurred.
“The human health effects of exposure to ultrafine particles produced by fuel combustion are generally regarded as detrimental,” Professor Morawska said.
“Effects can range from minor respiratory problems in healthy people, to acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in people with existing heart complaints.
Professor Morawska said the study involved more than 300 trips through the four kilometres of the M5 East tunnel, with journeys lasting up to 26 minutes, depending on traffic congestion.