Friday, August 7, 2009

Can't Smell A Thing

There was an interesting piece on page 18 of the September 2009 Runner's World Magazine. In the Ask Miles section, Tammy L. from Charlotte, NC posed the question, "Do elite athletes inhale the fumes from the lead caravan of motorcycles and cars?" Miles posed the question to elite runner Ryan Hall, who said," I can't remember ever smelling the exhaust." So Ryan wasn't aware of any problem and Miles didn't see fit to research if there is exhaust, if it's a problem or not so I don't think they answered the question.

It's a valid question. One that the riders of the Tour de France riders must deal with. Recently, Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon was diagnosed with cancer. Immediately everyone thought of drugs. I haven't seen anyone mention that he followed cars many a day riding on the bumper of a pacer car motor pacing, smelling God knows how many chemicals and carcinogens.

I go back to my assertion that if I run in the morning during the time of day the air is at it's cleanest and come across the recent exhaust of one car I can smell it. If I run on the hike and bike trail right next a thoroughfare of cars, maybe thousands that have gone by in the last hour, I can't smell a thing. What is that about?

"The average cancer risk from air pollution nationally is 36 in 1 million, according to the National Air Toxics Assessment, an analysis of health risks posed by toxic air. A neighborhood in Los Angeles County had the greatest cancer risk due to toxic air pollution — 1,200 in 1 million." So take the folks who spend the most time outdoors breathing hard who just may be endurance athletes. You put a few cars right in front of them for those hours and badda bing, badda boom.

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