Your commute may be killing you, says clean-air advocacy group

Here’s one more reason to hate your commute: it could be making you sick. Commuters — on car, train, bus, bike, or foot — breathe in up to eight times more diesel soot particles than they would just being in a downtown area, according to a new study by the nonprofit Clean Air Task Force. Based on air-quality monitoring on routes through New York City, Boston, Columbus, Ohio, and Austin, Texas, the task force estimates that during the 6 percent of the day spent commuting, the average person breathes in up to 60 percent of their daily total of lung-attacking particles. It’s just like driving in a closed car every day with a smoker! Whee! The feds have recently required new diesel engines to have emissions-reducing technology, and Congress has authorized subsidies for retrofitting the 13 million heavy trucks currently on the road. In the meantime, commuters, keep your windows closed, try not to follow garbage trucks, and, if at all possible, don’t breathe.