Experts confirm link between traffic air pollution and health

The largest scientific review of its kind to date found growing confidence in the links between several adverse health effects and traffic related air pollution.

The review was conducted by a panel of 13 experts who evaluated over 350 scientific reports on traffic pollution since 1980.

The panel of experts found a high level of confidence that strong connections exist between traffic related air pollution and early death due to cardiovascular diseases, as well as lung cancer mortality, asthma onset in children and adults and acute lower respiratory infections in children.

‘Traffic pollution clearly remains an important public health concern across the globe,’ said Hanna Boogaard, HEI Consulting Principal Scientist and member of the review panel. ‘This report provides the evidence to inform policymaker actions to mitigate the consequences of traffic pollution.’

cars passing through north and south

Emissions from traffic affect air quality at the local, neighbourhood, urban and regional scale. The panel found that studies focusing on exposure at the local level (less than one kilometre) and the neighbourhood level (one to five kilometres) offered the greatest potential in determining the impacts of this kind of air pollution.

The panel found that traffic related air pollution will continue to have important health effects globally, especially in urban settings and areas close to busy roadways.

Traffic-related air pollution is a complex mixture of gases and particles result­ing from the use of both heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles, buses, passenger cars, and motorcycles.

Motor vehicles emit a variety of pollutants including nitrogen dioxides (NO2), elemental carbon (EC), and particulate matter (PM2.5).

Vehicles also produce non-tailpipe emissions resulting from re-suspension of road dust, abrasion of the road surface, and the wear of brakes and tires which leads to emissions of heavy metals such as iron and copper. To date, almost all traffic pollution regulations are targeting tailpipe emissions.

Photo by Alexander Popov


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Gemma Simon i Mas
Gemma Simon i Mas
1 year ago

Could you please share the citation of the article? I cannot find it. Thank you.

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