Friday, February 11, 2011

Traffic, Pollution and Health

Health effects of transport-related air pollution (205 page pdf, World Health Organization, 2005)

This report is a valuable reference on almost all aspects of traffic, pollution and health with many examples and links to research. A special focus is on differences in air pollution concentrations, exposures and health impacts between urban and rural locations

Key Quotes:

“..vehicles are expected to become safer, more luxurious and powerful, and to be driven more frequently. These expectations, however, often do not take account of the ensuing consequences: increased fuel consumption, greater emissions of air pollutants and greater exposure of people to hazardous pollution that causes serious health problems”

“Many urban trips cover distances of less than 6 km. Since the effectiveness of catalytic converters in the initial minutes of engine operation is small, the average emission per distance driven is very high in urban areas”

“Tailpipe emissions of primary particles from road transport account for up to 30% of fine PM (less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter or PM2.5) in urban areas”

“Groups with high levels of exposure include people who live near busy roads or who ventilate their residences with air from road canyons with heavy traffic, road users (such as drivers, commuters and pedestrians) and people whose jobs require them to spend a long time on the roads.“
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