Breathing in the tiny particles emitted by automobile engines and power plants has been widely accepted by scientists and the public as being something to avoid.
But for a long time it was believed that these tiny particles, known as soot, were the sole toxic ingredient entering the lungs. However, Reid Frazier of the Allegheny Front has discovered quite a different story. Scientists have found that soot leads a “secret life” after being released into the air, during which it picks up gases and other poisonous hitchhikers. Before the soot actually enters the lungs these particles go through a unique evolution that involves a surprising combination of molecules.