LIVING CLOSE TO THE HIGHWAYS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
“Every day, millions of Americans that live, work, and go to school near a major roadway or train, bus, or railyard station, come into contact with traffic-related air pollution. Exposure to emissions from cars and trucks can have negative effects on health. 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. Studies have found increased risk of premature death from living near a major highway or an urban road. “
“””While breathing air pollution from motor vehicles is unhealthy for everyone, the people who live and work near highways and traffic are at much greater risk. Whether you live near a highway or are taking
a road trip, it’s important to be aware of the health risks of breathing highway air pollution, and take steps to limit your exposure””, American Lung Association says.”
So what can be done to protect yourself and your loved ones?
“EPA scientists have compiled research and recommendations for designing and planting roadside barriers in the recent report Recommendations for Constructing Roadside Vegetation Barriers to Improve
Near-Road Air Quality. “These roadside barriers can be a good addition to emission control techniques because they can address existing air quality problems in a shorter time period than most other strategies,”
says Richard Baldauf, an EPA scientist who studies mitigation strategies for near roadway air pollution. “Noise barriers and vegetation barriers can also provide other benefits to the community such as noise reduction
and water runoff control.””
“Also, you can take steps to limit your exposure to highway pollution. Because your body takes in more air during physical movement, do not exercise near busy highways. Avoid the areas near highways and traffic
on bad air quality days when the levels of air pollution are already high. How do you know when the air is unhealthy? Check the Air Quality Index. If you are in a car on the highway, make sure the windows are up
and recirculate your air. “
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