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Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust

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In an attempt to better understand the urban environment and its components, scientists have discovered that sunlight causes chemical reactions in the dust found on Edmonton roads.

“We found that when you shine light on road dust, it produces a reactive form of oxygen called singlet oxygen,” said environmental chemist Sarah Styler. “It acts as an oxidant in the environment and can cause or influence other chemical reactions.”

In an attempt to better understand the urban environment and its components, scientists have discovered that sunlight causes chemical reactions in the dust found on Edmonton roads.

“We found that when you shine light on road dust, it produces a reactive form of oxygen called singlet oxygen,” said environmental chemist Sarah Styler. “It acts as an oxidant in the environment and can cause or influence other chemical reactions.”

Just what those chemical reactions are and how they affect us is something the assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Chemistry is determined to find out.

“Unlike tailpipe emissions, which are increasingly heavily regulated, road dust is much more complex and comes from many different sources,” explained Styler, who conducted the study by examining and analyzing road dust collected from Edmonton’s downtown core in September 2016 with her research team.

 

Continue reading at University of Alberta.

Image via University of Alberta.