Friday, March 8, 2013

Health Impacts from Proximity to Traffic

Changes in Residential Proximity to Road Traffic and the Risk of Death From Coronary Heart Disease(8 page pdf, Wen Qi Gan, Lillian Tamburic, Hugh W. Davies, Paul A. Demers, Mieke Koehoorn, and Michael Brauer, Epidemiology, Sept. 2010)

Also discussed here: Traffic-related air pollution, community noise and coronary heart disease mortality(49 page pdf, Wenqi Gan, PHO Rounds, Toronto, Mar. 12, 2012)

Today we review research on traffic related air pollution in Vancouver that examines how proximity to that traffic is linked to deaths from heart disease (CHD). Results indicate that those who are within 50 m of highways have approximately 50% greater relative risk (RR) compared to those who are not exposed to traffic. This drops to 20 to 40 % greater risk for those more than 150 m from a highway or within 50 m of a major road. The author notes that proximity to roads is only a proxy for estimating traffic volume and air pollution concentration near roads and that traffic noise is another factor that affect CHDs as well as air pollution.

   proximity to highways

Key Quotes:

“In metropolitan areas, road traffic is a major contributor to air pollution.5,6 A European study estimated that approximately half of the adult mortality from air pollution was attributed to traffic-related air pollution.”

“Residential proximity to traffic is a relatively crude surrogate for exposure to traffic-related air pollution. Many factors, such as wind direction, presence of street canyons, and specific residence characteristics, may influence actual residential exposure levels.”

 “Using a large population-based cohort study with detailed residential history information, we observed that living close to traffic was associated with an increased risk of coronary mortality, whereas moving away from traffic was associated with a decreased risk.”
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