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Hail a cab—but watch out for the pollution

Taking a taxi can increase your exposure to pollution, researchers said. Walking is your best bet.
/ Source: Reuters

Taking a taxi can increase your exposure to pollution, researchers said on Tuesday. Walking is your best bet.

“It was a real surprise to find the extent to which walking resulted in the lowest exposure,” said Surbjit Kaur from Imperial College, London.

The researchers studied five modes of transport -- walking, cycling, cars, taxis and buses -- using video cameras and a special counter to measure ultrafine pollutant particles in the atmosphere.

Taxis proved the worst choice with passengers exposed to over 100,000 ultrafine particle counts per cubic centimeter.

“The higher exposure from travelling in taxis may come from actually sitting in the vehicle while being stuck in traffic where you are directly in the path of the pollutant source,” Kaur told the journal Atmospheric Environment.

“The fact that taxis are probably on the road for much longer than your average car could cause an accumulation of ultrafine particles,” he added.