We already know that commuting to and from work costs you a whole lot of time and money. And, to all of you ultra conservatives out there, it gives everyone time to listen to NPR. But, it is not NPR that is the problem. (Really). It is the cause and effect of pollution.
I am talking about the air pollution that results from the millions of cars and trucks that crowd our highways each day, and especially during "Fresh Air", "All Things Considered" and "Talk of the Nation". You know, during the heavy commute times when Rush is not spouting his hate filled, thinly racist, anti-women diatribe.
My carpet commute every day takes less than a minute. Although, when I have to drive into Houston or Dallas, Texas for Court I cannot drive with my windows down or open. The smell is terrible. It is hard to breath. And, the noise is deafening. (Besides, I drive a Prius). Occasionally, I see someone on a motorcycle in traffic and wonder how they can stand it.
We know that the particulate matter in all of the exhaust causes respiratory illness, heart disease, cancer, and and other health effects. But, the danger might be greater than that. Your commute to and from work might be endangering you.
Researchers at USC have now linked freeway air pollution to increased brain damage in mice.
Now, I know you are asking what people are doing taking mice with them on their commute, but how else are you going to use the HOV lane.
I know there are those that do not believe in commuting mice, NPR, USC, HOV lanes, hybrid vehicles, something called "science", and believe that researchers reporting findings are "telling you what to do." I am not personally sure when GOD created the freeways, SUVs, and the long, smog filled commute. In all seriousness, however, these scientist and researchers are concerned that commuters might be suffering similarly.
LA Times reports that "exposure to pollution particles roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair has been linked to brain damage in mice, including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease ..."
The study involved utilizing a technology that helped scientists simulate freeway air. It allowed them to hold particulates from auto emissions in liquid suspension in order to recreate a highway-like environment. Mice were then subjected to the faux highway air over long periods of time -- similar durations that humans breathe the stuff in their daily lives.
This pollution caused increased damage to brain tissue, in ways that appear similar to the kind of damage that causes memory loss and Alzheimer's. And the authors of the report believe that humans are prone to similar damage as well.
According to the Times, Todd Morgan, lead author of the new study and a research professor in gerontology at USC explained: "Our data would suggest that freeway pollution could have a profound effect on the development of neurons and brain health in children and young kids, especially those who attend schools built alongside freeways." (Oh Snap! There he goes apparently supporting public schools).
Could the long commutes we have established be contributing to the spike in Alzheimer's in our country?
Although unscientific, I have observed that those that oppose USC, NPR, commuting mice, public schools and science also tend to drive the biggest, gas guzzling and the most polluting vehicles. Or, maybe that is just my prejudice talking.
Regardless, we do know that those that oppose these things also tend to lobby against the EPA, which has been the only agency or organization that has long battled to get emissions standards in vehicles as tight as they are today. And yet, even these standards are slight in comparison to most developed nations who have fewer cases of deases like Alzheimer's. But do not worry, because if your commute causes brian damage of this nature, the GOP has now proposed ending Medicare and Medicaid so that you cannot possibly be cared for in your old age should you contract such a dease.
In the meantime, I have a solution that might help. Close your traditional office, go virtual (or as virtual as possible), move your office home, move your employees, partners and associates home, and stay away from the rush hour commutes. Obviously, you will have more time, more money, less expense, less aggrevation, and an overall better quality of life.
Do I have an Amend?