Traffic-Related Air Pollution Literature Review


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Traffic-Related Air Pollution: A Critical Review of the Literature on Emissions, Exposure, and Health Effects (386 pdf, Health Effects Institute,  Jan. 12, 2010)

Key Quotes:

“Motor vehicles emit large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and substances known as mobilesource air toxics (MSATs), such as benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, 1,3-butadiene, and lead (where leaded gasoline is still in use) … Resuspended road dust, tire wear, and brake wear are sources of noncombustion PM emissions from motor vehicles.“

“the contribution of motor vehicles to ambient pollution, depending on the model, the location of the monitoring sites, and the other sources… range from 5% in Pittsburgh, Pa., under conditions with very high secondary aerosol, to 49% in Phoenix, Ariz., and 55% in Los Angeles, Calif.”

“About 45.2% of the total population of Toronto and 43.6% of Los Angeles live within 500 m of a highway and 100 m of a major road. If the 50-meter cut-off is used for major roads, the percentages drop to about 32.7% of the total population in Toronto and 32.6% in Los Angeles”

“Data from U.S. travel surveys indicate that commuters spent 81 minutes per day in vehicles in 2001, on average, which was 10% higher than in 1995, and that children spent 48 minutes per day in vehicles.. average in-vehicle concentrations of PM2.5 and CO were 2.5 and 6 times higher, respectively, than concentrations measured at nearby urban”

“the Panel concluded that the evidence is sufficient to support a causal relationship between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and exacerbation of asthma. It also found suggestive evidence of a causal relationship with onset of childhood asthma, nonasthma respiratory symptoms, impaired lung function, total and cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular morbidity, although the data are not sufficient to fully support causality.“

“In light of the large number of people residing within 300 to 500 m of major roads, the Panel concludes that the sufficient and suggestive evidence for these health outcomes indicates that exposures to traffic-related pollution are likely to be of public health concern and deserve public attention.“

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