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Updated: November 20, 2009 16:46 IST

Slamming on car brakes ‘bad for health, environment’

PTI
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Braking and even being close to a disengaged brake can result in a potentially dangerous effect on body cells.
The Hindu
Braking and even being close to a disengaged brake can result in a potentially dangerous effect on body cells.

Think twice before you hit the car brakes hard, for it has harmful effects on both the environment and your body

At times, you just can’t avoid it, but a new study says that slamming on your car brakes is bad for the environment as well as your health.

Researchers at University of Bern in Switzerland have carried out the study and found that pressing car brakes hard is not only harmful for the environment but also damages one’s lungs.

The study found that particles released by brake pads harm lung cells through a chemical process known as oxidative stress, the Daily Express reported.

And, heavy braking, as in an emergency stop, is the most harmful. But normal braking and even being close to a disengaged brake can result in a potentially dangerous effect on body cells.

The researchers said that brake wear contributed up to 20 per cent of total traffic emissions. But the health effects of the particles released into the atmosphere remain largely unstudied.

For their study, the researchers studied the effects of brake wear particles on cultured lung cells placed in a chamber close to a car axle.

“Just as for exhaust particles, efforts to diminish brake particle emissions will lead to an improved ambient air quality and so could provide better protection of human health,” the researchers said.

The findings have been published in the Particle and Fibre Toxicology journal.


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