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With all the work being done to reduce the amount of petroleum products used on the nation's roadways, there's still an awful lot of gas being burned on every street, every day. The EPA is funding a $1.4 million joint study with the University of Michigan on the health effects of air pollution on children who live near busy roads. Learning more about how asthma and respiratory viral infections are affected by the pollution will be highlighted in the three-year study that started in September 2008.

Officially called the, "Childhood Health Effects from Roadway and Urban Pollutant Burden Study," the results of the study will be used by local governments to better plan where things like roads and schools should be built. The potential impact is large, since the EPA says that more than 45 million people in the U.S. currently live within 300 feet of a four-lane road, airport, or railroad.

[Source: EPA]
Photo by SideLong. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

PRESS RELEASE:

EPA, University of Michigan to Research Health Effects of Roadway Pollution on Children

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $1.4 million joint study with the University of Michigan on the health effects of air pollution on children living near the nation's heavily traveled thoroughfares. The study is funded through EPA's Science to Achieve Results program.

"The knowledge gained from this study will arm local governments with the best available science when planning some of their most important projects, such as road and school design," said Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development. "This information will help build safer communities for our children."

Under the cooperative agreement, researchers will study the types of pollutants common near roadways, how people are exposed to them, the extent of exposures, and the types and severity of health effects. More than 45 million people in the U.S. live within 300 feet of a four-lane road, airport, or railroad.

EPA and the University of Michigan will study traffic-associated pollution in Detroit and whether it could lead to more severe asthma attacks in children ages 6 to 14. The study will also explore whether traffic exposure has any effects on the likelihood of respiratory viral infections and will help researchers improve the predictive capabilities of computer models.

The research will be useful for policy makers developing mitigation plans to reduce exposures to air pollution for people living or working near roadways. State highway planners and environmental agencies can use the science to assess local impacts of vehicle emissions and determine the need for and impact of future road projects.

More information on the study: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/near-roadway

More information on EPA's STAR program: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/grants/


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  • 5 Comments
      • 1 Month Ago
      Even electric vehicles would have some emissions from particulates as the tires wear.
      Still, it's another step in the right direction after the really big one of banning lead.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Air and noise pollution are major concerns. To this day I don't understand why as architects and city officals allow projects to be built right next to major highways. It's like we're stuck in the old wild wild west building of a town.
        • 1 Month Ago
        I'm more inclined to say solar electric. I would rather see commerical, retail, or my personal preference parks along side highways. With multi and single dwellings within the city. So many new developments are within 50yrds of major highways which is a big health concern. I would prefer to see dwelling not less then 200yds from highways.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Some advantages of having dwellings near the roads is to shorten commutes and reduce sprawl. If instead of typical ICE cars being driven, the vehicles were electric, then having dwellings near roads would not be an issue other than for noise. The generating energy for those electric cars would still likely produce some emissions but then it's independent of the roads now.
      • 1 Month Ago
      While I find the effort worthwhile, I really don't see why they'd need another study. I'm under the impression that the adverse health effects of road- and urban pollutants on children are fairly well known, having been researched for at least 20 years throughout the world.