Traffic-related air pollution a growing concern in Canada

There’s Evidence showing a link between traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) and the development of asthma in children and adults and it’s a growing Public Health concern in Canada, according to a paper printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Studies have shown that pollution from car and truck exhaust can be detrimental to children and adults, creating health problems. Additionally, further evidence shows diesel exhaust can cause cancer. A group of research scientists have published a commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) outlining the problem, including some intervention strategies that would be beneficial to the public health.

Canada’s cities generally have good quality air, despite the fact that 21,000 people die from air pollution every year. This figure is 9 times the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents. The study found that 32 percent of the Canadian population, over 10 million people, live within 500 m of a highway or 100 m of major urban thoroughfares. These are considered areas where exposure to TRAP is the greatest.

Michael Brauer, of the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC, wrote:” “This high prevalence of exposure, in addition to evidence of associated health problems, suggests that traffic-related air pollution is a substantial public health concern in Canada.”

Brauer and his associates have suggested four strategies with short and long-term options that will hopefully reduce the effects of TRAP. They include the following:

1. Reduction of vehicular emissions: This includes the introduction of programs and protocols that would remove or retrofit high-emission vehicles, reduce traffic congestion, and expansion of highways for electric vehicles.

2. Modification of current infrastructure: This plan would require the rerouting of highways for heavy truck traffic, and creating separate traffic lanes for cycling and walking routes away from busy highways.

3.Plans for better land use and traffic management: Would require that schools, nursing homes and daycares be located no closer than 150 m from busy highways.

4.Working with public on behavioral changes: Requires the development of policies to reduce traffic congestion in high-traffic areas, and educating the public in using alternative routes to avoid congestion.

The paper also cites evidence from London, U.K. showing these interventions will work, like adding a separate “drivers fee” for driving in a congested area. This reduced traffic volume and congestion , resulting in” “an estimated gain of 183 years of life per 100 000 residents within the zone over a 10-year period.”

In researching this story, it was apparent that traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) studies have been going on in Canada for a number of years. One study published in the May, 2010 issue of the American Thoracic Journal outlined a study done by Canadian doctors on the incidence of asthma in children caused by exposure to TRAP.

The study showed that “modest” exposure to TRAP at birth is associated with asthma being diagnosed in children by the age of 7-years of age. This study and others like it do show there is a direct correlation between TRAP and the incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases in children and adults.

The paper published by Michael Brauer and his associates is intriguing because they give public health authorities some strategies in reducing the levels of PM2.5 in the air.

via Traffic-related air pollution a growing concern in Canada.

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Respro® Masks: Cycle masks, motorcycle masks and allergy masks. External wear for internal protection.
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