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The Virginia Engineer's Feature Articles

Roadside Dirt Contains Hidden Danger

November, 2006

A truck idles at a stoplight; when the light turns green, it roars away in a cloud of dirt and exhaust.

For many years, researchers have studied tailpipe emissions as they correlate to human exposure and adverse health effects. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have learned there’s more to that cloud of roadway dirt: What looks like ordinary dirt actually is a potentially toxic mixture of non-tailpipe vehicle emissions, including microscopic metal particles from brake and tire wear.

Epidemiologists link roadway