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Jun 16, 2015
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As if its kilometers-long river of rubber and metal isn't enough bad news to make you veer away, there's a hidden danger in EDSA that might just mess up your plans of living up to a ripe old age.

Cue #MayForever traffic jokes

According to a report from CNN Philippines, parts of EDSA have high levels of black carbon which can cause cancer. The report cites data gathered by Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, head of the Bagtasa Atmospheric Physics Laboratory of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology of the University of the Philippines, which show that the Shaw Boulevard underpass and the Ayala underpass have alarmingly high levels of the said carcinogen.

black carbonImage via Jessicarulestheuniverse.com

How high are we talking about here? Up to 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter. Dr. Bagtasa's study reveals that other countries have one to 10 micrograms per cubic meter so, you know, we have a legit problem over here.

For the clueless, black carbon is a very fine substance that's produced via incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (particularly diesel) and biofuel (a type of fuel produced by biological means, such as ethanol). Constant inhalation can wreak havoc on a person's breathing and cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma or, if you're really unlucky, cancer.

And the risk obviously worsens with exposure. "Being in EDSA every day is as dangerous as smoking," Dr. Bagtasa says. We may not like most of them but, man, those MMDA personnel really have it rough.

black carbonGIF via Broadwaybox.com

If you really have no choice but to go through EDSA daily, we recommend closing your windows, especially at the areas we've mentioned. Or, if you're budget dictates you ride "open-air" PUVs, a medically-certified breathing mask should come in handy. You might not look as cool, but at least you won't be breathing the dreaded substance as much.

Finally, for the car owners out there, be sure to maintain your ride's engine since proper maintenance can reduce the risk of spewing black carbon into the air. Your car and the people around you will thank you for it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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