WNYC is partnering with Columbia University for a research project to understand how much air pollution New Yorkers are exposed to as they ride their bikes in the city, and also to measure how this exposure affects their hearts. The researchers are particularly interested in measuring the "inhaled dose" of air pollution—how much pollution riders actually draw into their lungs—and how it varies as they exercise. Researchers from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are leading the project.
Study participants wear air pollution monitors, a special shirt that monitors their heart rates, and an automatic blood pressure cuff for five 24-hour periods centered around five morning bike commutes. Researchers will use this information to make recommendations about how NYC and other cities can design bicycle infrastructure to minimize the risks of air pollution exposure. The data will feed ongoing research at Columbia and contribute to cycling and public health in one of the most polluted cities in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association.