From: Associated Press
Published October 21, 2004 12:00 AM

Strolling May Be Hazardous to Your Health in Italy's Polluted Cities, Say Doctors

ROME — An after-dinner stroll in an Italian city instead of a smoke? Your lungs won't thank you, a study of Italian urban pollution indicates.


Italian doctors have calculated that breathing polluted city air for a day is equivalent to puffing away on several cigarettes, Italian newspapers reported Wednesday.


Doctors at the department of occupational medicine at Sesto San Giovanni hospital near Milan analyzed the pollutants from traffic, heating, and factories in the air of several Italian cities and calculated that, in Milan, a day of breathing is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes.


The number of smokes was the same for two port cities: Palermo in Sicily and Trieste on the Adriatic.


Traffic-choked Naples rated the equivalent of nine to 11 cigarettes, while Renaissance jewel Florence scored seven or eight. A day in Rome, where pedestrians share many of the cobblestone streets with cars and motor scooters, was a little better, equaling five or six cigarettes. A day along the canals of Venice, where there are no cars, was like having a mere four or five smokes.


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The harmful effects of breathing polluted urban air are felt 24 hours a day, Milan daily Corriere della Sera quoted department head Piermario Biava as saying.


Source: Associated Press


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