Thanks to new research, some answers regarding air pollution might be found by carefully monitoring moss. Portland’s air toxics and air quality were established by the U.S Forest Service after a thorough examination of 300 spots of growing mosses in Portland.
Scientists studied the 22 elements from the moss composition and learned that there were six metals possibly dangerous to humans. According to Demetrios Gatziolis, the level of pollution quite concerns until now. Worse, the air quality is uncertain.
Further research of the cadmium is needed to establish the exact source of pollution and the source compared to the air quality. Based on this, researchers will be able to come up with a plan to deal with the air pollution and to improve the air quality on which humans and the forest rely as well.
According to Sarah Jovan, research forester, scientists will double their efforts to determine how much time was needed for the moss to absorb the metals from the air and how to tackle this problem. But to solve this mystery, experts need to understand first the relation between moss and the metals from the air.
According to DEQ lab manager, Brian Boling, moss data in the Cully neighborhood showed that the high concentrations came from four types of metal, such as iron, aluminum, chromium, and cobalt. Therefore, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will continue monitoring the site to see whether the concentrations will continue to increase, drop off or maintain.
Additional information from 346 moss samples showed that breathing cobalt may lead to severe consequences in humans consisting of lung problems. The air pollution is no longer a surprise, therefore, the agency needs to take active measures in order to deal with this issue and to improve the level of air quality throughout the entire area.
Nevertheless, experts believe that the source of the problem might lie in the fact that moss spot is situated next to an industrial zone and a busy road. Two of the metals released in the air are not a real need for concern, but they are still a sign that industrial activity has taken its toll on the environment.
Scientists are trying to raise awareness regarding air pollution due to excessive industrial activity. Moss study will continue in order to understand the effects of the metals released in the air and hopefully, an effective approach to this problem will be found soon.