Living Near A Road With Heavy Traffic And Air Pollution

ABSTRACT: Children and teenagers are among the most vulnerable—though not the only ones at risk. A Danish study found that long-term exposure to traffic air pollution may increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They found that those most at risk were people who already had asthma or diabetes. 2 Studies have found increased risk of premature death from living near a major highway or an urban road.3 Another study found an increase in risk of heart attacks from being in traffic, whether driving or taking public transportation.4 Urban women in a Boston study experienced decreased lung function associated with traffic-related pollution.5

Adults living closer to the road—within 300 meters—may risk dementia. In 2017, a study of residents of Ontario, Canada, found that those who lived close to heavy traffic had a higher risk of dementia, although not for Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Researchers found the strongest association among those who lived closest to the roads (less than 50 meters), who had never moved and who lived in major cities.6 A study of older men in 2011 also found that long-term exposure to traffic pollution increased their risk of having poor cognition.7


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