Cyclists, who are highly exposed to sources of pollution

Cyclists, who are highly exposed to sources of pollution

• Patricia Segura Medina and Oscar Augusto Peralta Rosales suggested maintaining the use of face masks, staying away from cars and, if possible, riding at night

Patricia Segura Medina, PhD instructor in biomedical sciences at UNAM, attached to the Division of Bronchial Hyperreactivity at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), explained.

When participating in the session “Cycling Commuting and Its Effects on Health”, which was held by the Undergraduate Program for Urban Studies (PUEC) of the National University, he indicated that the World Health Organization considers environmental pollution to be a greater danger to human life.

This has been sustained by gases such as carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic matter, and suspended (micrometric) particles such as PM2.5 and PM10, for example. In addition to aerobic biology such as pollen, algae, fungi, bacteria, viruses, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: benzene, toluene, and others.

Segura Medina said that from the acute effects there may be cases of asthma, respiratory infections, heart attacks, conjunctivitis, sinusitis, dermatitis and shortness of breath. In the long term: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic infections, and others.

In addition, Patricia Segura stressed that the cyclist is exposed to noise 450 times more than other people, so it can have the effects of excessive stress.

However, the academic explained the benefits of “rolling” for the individual and the environment: “It increases respiratory capacity; lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It improves mental health; it prevents heart disease; it promotes coordination and prevents the accumulation of body fat.”

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The environment also benefits because pollutants are not released into the air, and neither noise nor global warming is generated; low traffic; narrow lanes can be used; It does not mean deforestation.

At his event, Oscar Augusto Peralta Rosales, from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change, presented part of a study to measure primary pollutants in 2020, on bike paths in Mexico City.

On the street, he said, a bicycle user could be exposed to up to 10 times the concentration recorded by air quality stations of carbon monoxide and PM2.5 particles.

“If a breathing rate of 0.5 cubic meters per hour (cubic meters per hour) is taken into account, then a person who spends 60 minutes on a public road receives 300 micrograms (one millionth of a gram) of PM2.5 (containing 30 micrograms of carbon black). ) plus 2.4 mg of carbon monoxide.

According to Peralta Rosales, environmental standards such as NOM-025-SSA1-2014, which refers to PM2.5, state that the average particulate matter concentration should not exceed 45 μg/m3 within a 24-hour period.


The two researchers agreed that the areas of human-powered vehicles should be separated as much as possible from the areas of combustion vehicles.

“The more distance a cyclist keeps from the bus, the better the air he breathes; Patricia Segura noted that a face mask can be used to be safe from fine particles.

He added that the ideal thing to avoid exposure to pollutants is to shoot at night, but the problem lies in sufficient vision to avoid accidents.

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As a precaution during the day, suggest consulting a UV Index for UV intensity. He concluded, “The hours of greatest exposure to solar radiation are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so you should protect your skin, seek shade, wear eyeglasses, long-sleeved clothing, and sunscreen.”


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