Friday, April 20, 2012

Respiratory Health Impacts from Exposure to Roadside Emissions

Association between proximity to major roads and sputum cell counts (6 page pdf, Julie Wallace, Liesel D’silva, John Brannan, Frederick E Hargreave, Pavlos Kanaroglou, and Parameswaran Nair, Can Respir J, January/February 2011)

 Today we review some research into respiratory health impacts from exposure to nearby roadside emissions in the highly industrialized City of Hamilton. Results indicate increased bronchitis and asthma even for people located1 km away from major roads and highways.

Key Quotes:

“Air pollution from vehicular traffic emissions is a serious health hazard with significant impact on public health
  • Ambient particulate matter and pollutants from automobiles such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are associated with respiratory morbidity and mortality;
  • these effects may be greater among persons with pre-existing obstructive airway diseases such as asthma
  • Proximity to major roads and high-density traffic has been reported to be associated with higher rates of wheezing, atopy and respiratory symptoms, decline in lung function and increased health care use in children”
“To examine whether proximity to major roads or highways is associated with an increase in sputum neutrophils or eosinophils, and to evaluate the effect of proximity to roads on spirometry and exacerbations in patients with asthma”

“Patients living within 1000 m of highways showed an increased risk of bronchitis .. particularly neutrophilic bronchitis..;as well as an increased risk of an asthma diagnosis.. Patients living within 300 m of a major road were at increased risk for an asthma exacerbation …. and lower lung function, particularly in women”

“asthmatic patients who spent 2 h walking on streets exposed to diesel pollution demonstrated an acute (but nonsignificant) increase in neutrophils with no increase in eosinophils (9), and traffic police officers exhibited increased airway neutrophil inflammation”

“The spatial extent of impact for mobile pollution sources reviewed in the present study was on the order of 100 m to 400 m for elemental carbon or particulate matter mass concentration (excluding background concentration), 200 m to 500 m for nitrogen dioxide and 100 m to 300 m for ultrafine particle counts”
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