Research conducted at the University of Southern California (USC) indicates that at least 8 percent of the more than 300,000 cases of childhood asthma in Los Angeles County can be attributed to traffic-related pollution at homes within 75 meters (a little less than 250 feet) of a busy roadway.
The study also indicates that previous estimates of childhood asthma exacerbation related to air pollution may have underestimated the true burden of exposure on society. The research was published online Sept. 24, 2012, in Environmental Health Perspectives and was conducted in collaboration with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Sonoma Technology, Inc. The study focused on the Los Angeles basin.
"Our findings suggest that there are large and previously unappreciated public health consequences of air pollution in Los Angeles County and probably other metropolitan areas with large numbers of children living near major traffic corridors," said Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC.
The USC study also looked at new state of California policies intended to cut back on vehicular greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. An important goal of these policies is to reduce vehicular emissions of greenhouse gases, both by improving fuel efficiency and reducing vehicle miles traveled by increasing use of public transportation. As part of these policies, housing developers would be offered incentives, such as speeding up environmental review to design projects located closer to transit stops with bus or rail service that will encourage use of fuel efficient mass transit. The investigators note, however, that transit stops are often located on or near busy roads and that there has been little study of the impact of these policies on exposure to children living near major roadways.
The study concludes that better information is needed to develop the optimal mix of policies that reduce sprawl, encourage walking and use of mass transit to reduce vehicle miles traveled, greenhouse gases and regional air pollution, and also to reduce children's near-roadway exposure to emissions from vehicles still traveling on roadways.
"Plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change offer an opportunity to develop 'win-win' strategies that will maximize the health benefits from reduction both of greenhouse gases and of air pollutants that directly harm children," McConnell said.
"There is also emerging evidence that other diseases may be caused or exacerbated by urban air pollution, including atherosclerosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and neurological disorders," McConnell added. "Thus, policies to combat climate change may have near-term health benefits beyond reducing the burden of disease due to asthma."
The researchers estimated the effects of air pollution on children suffering from asthma by using data from sources including the Children's Health Study, a long-term study of effects of air pollution ongoing since 1993. Regional air pollution measurements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and area maps were used to estimate exposure to near-roadway pollution in the Los Angeles area. This information was linked to population data.
Asthma exacerbation in this study was connected to regional pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and ozone that cover large parts of the air basin, and to near-roadway pollutants that are responsible for the development of asthma. The researchers found that living near busy roads contributed disproportionately to the more serious exacerbations of asthma in children, including emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
In addition, a 20 percent reduction in children's near-roadway pollution exposure would result in an estimated 5,900 fewer cases of childhood asthma in the County, according to the research, whereas a 20 percent increase in exposure would result in 5,900 more cases of asthma.
Funding for the research was provided by funds from British Petroleum (BP) as part of an air quality violations settlement agreement with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, a California state agency. The study also was supported by National Institute of Health grants P30ES007048, P01ES009581, P01ES011627 and R01 ES016535, as well as grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, and support from the Hastings Foundation.
Perez, L., Lurmann, F., Wilson, J., Pastor, M., Brandt, S.J., Künzli, N., McConnell, R. (2012). Near-roadway pollution and childhood asthma: Implications for developing "win-win" compact urban development and clean vehicle strategies, Environmental Health Perspectives, Published online Sept. 24, 2012; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104785
Leslie Ridgeway | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Environmental Health > Environmental Health Perspectives > Environmental Protection Agency > Near-roadway > Perspectives > Protection > USC > air pollutant > childhood asthma > environmental risk > gas emission > greenhouse gas > greenhouse gas emission > health services > metropolitan area
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine