This is Science Today. When one thinks of air pollution,
images of smoggy cities with lots of combustion
come to mind. While a day in the country may seem
like a respiratory respite - there's pollution in
rural areas too. Lara Gundel, a staff scientist
at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says
it's just from another source.
Country and rural areas have a different mix of
particles. Can have a lot more soil dust for example.
Unpaved roads, agricultural operations that will
generate usually bigger particles that'll be brown
rather than gray or black, like we see in urban
air because of their mixture of soil.
There's also smaller particles of pollution in rural
areas that have dramatic health impacts.
Pesticide application for example will generate
a lot of gas phase pollution that when it rains,
will allow these pesticides to be picked up into
particles and water droplets. And so, there are
actually high levels of pesticides in the rural
particles and not quite so much influence of combustion.
So they're different kinds of problems.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.