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Health & Balance

Driving Is Hazardous to Your Health

Road Worriers
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Pollution

Of course, the whole time you are playing bumper cars with semis and irate motorists, you are also breathing poisonous mixtures of lead and ozone. "People think they are protected in an SUV," chuckles Sarkar, "and they are exposing themselves and everyone else to more pollution."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average adult breathes 3,400 gallons of air a day. If you commute two hours a day, you're inhaling hundreds of gallons of pollution-choked air, which worsens asthma, emphysema, and other lung problems.

What's the Good News?

So is there any good news about good old drive time? Maybe a glimmer. Andrew Baum, PhD, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, has done studies showing that sitting in traffic or commuting in general can raise blood pressure and irritability -- but they return to normal levels after you get out of the car.

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