What Are the Health Implications of Using Coal-Tar Sealants on Driveways and Parking Lots?

Studies Raise Questions about Pavement Sealers (2 page pdf, Environ Health Perspect. 2012 May 1, 2012)
Also discussed here: Public Health Statement – Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Pahs)  (6 Page Pdf, Department Of Health And Human Services, Public Health Service Agency For Toxic Substances And Disease Registry, Center For Disease Control, Aug. 1995)
And here: A review of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their human health effects (Abstract, Ki-Hyun Kim, Shamin Ara Jahan, Ehsanul Kabir, Richard J.C. Brown, Atmospheric Environment, Oct. 2013)

Today we review a short article that discusses the pros and cons of applying a sealant to driveways. The biggest pro is improving the cosmetic appearance of the driveway. The biggest con is that coal-tar based sealants act as source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) for as long as eight years after the initial application, in addition to producing14.5 times higher concentration of PAH-contaminated indoor dust in residences located next to treated pavements. An asphalt pavement structure should last virtually forever if a thin coat of repaving is applied after 20 years along with interim crack sealing. The health impacts from exposure to PAH for long periods include a higher risk of cancer as well as cataracts, kidney and liver damage and jaundice.
To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Is Exposure to Short-term Roadside Emissions a Greater Health Risk for Children?

Greater nitrogen dioxide concentrations at child versus adult breathing heights close to urban main road kerbside (7 page pf, Hannah S. Kenagy, Chun Lin, Hao Wu & Mathew R. Heal, Air Qual Atmos Health, Sep. 3, 2015)

Roadside emissions have been shown to pose a health threat for people living or travelling close to the roads but the studies have been restricted to measuring the exposure several metres above ground rather than at the same level as the exhaust itself or for people breathing in the pollution at different heights. Today we review research into this question with a focus on how this may pose a greater threat for children either walking or in a stroller/buggie at lower heights than their accompanying adults. Results indicate that NO2 concentration levels are 5 to 15% higher closer to the ground within 1.2 m of the side of the road or curb- with other actors such as windspeed kept constant. This has health implications for children near roads with heavy traffic (above 12,000 vehicles per day which is typical for a 2 lane busy urban road) and might suggest a greater setback for sidewalks for example.

Nitrogen dioxide, a large contributor to the p...

Nitrogen dioxide, a large contributor to the production of smog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Is there a Link between Childhood Leukemia and Roadside Emissions from Traffic?

Residential Proximity to Heavy-Traffic Roads, Benzene Exposure, and Childhood Leukemia—The GEOCAP Study, 2002–2007 (Abstract, Jennifer Houot, Fabienne Marquant, Stéphanie Goujon, Laure Faure, Cécile Honoré, Marie-Hélène Roth, Denis Hémon and Jacqueline Clavel, Am. J. Epidemiol., Sep. 15, 2015)
Also discussed here: Study of leukemias in children living close to heavily used roads. (ScienceDaily, Sep. 17, 2015)
Today we review research conducted in France with 5 years of data to explore the incidence of leukemia for children exposed to roadside emissions. Results indicate that while there is no significant link with nitrogen dioxide, there is a 30% greater frequency of myeloblastic type leukemia for children living within 150 m of heavy traffic when there is also a higher concentration of benzene in the emissions.

BONE MARROW: ACUTE MYELOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA WITH ...

BONE MARROW: ACUTE MYELOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA WITH MATURATION (AML-M2) Bone marrow smear from a patient with acute myeloblastic leukemia with maturation showing several blasts with prominent nucleoli, a promyelocyte, and a myelocyte. Two of the blasts contain prominent Auer rods. (Wright-Giemsa stain) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How Do Electric Fields under High Voltage Power Lines Compare to Those Near Highways?

Comparison of charged nanoparticle concentrations near busy roads and overhead high-voltage power lines (Abstract, E.R. Jayaratne, X. Ling, L. Morawska, May 28, 2015)

Also discussed here: Roadside air can be more charged than under a high-voltage power line (Science Daily, May 28, 2015)
Today we review research from Brisbane, Australia, comparing the number of charged particles emitted by vehicles near highways to what is found under power lines. Results indicate more than twice as many charged vehicles near roads. The charges alone do not present a health hazard but the fact that the particulates are charged means that they adhere more closely to the lungs when they are breathed in – and this as earlier research has shown presents a number of health impacts which would be increased by the electrical charging.

freeway electric field

To see Key Quotes and Links to those in key reports, click HERE

 

Modelling the Dynamics of Traffic Congestion and Urban Air Pollution Hot Spots

MIT Study devises new algorithm to predict traffic patterns (Becca DeGregorio, The Daily Free Press, Nov. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here: Understanding Road Usage Patterns in Urban Areas (6 page pdf, Pu Wang, Timothy Hunter, Alexandre M. Bayen, Katja Schechtner & Marta C. Gonzalez, Scientific Reports, Nature, Dec. 20, 2012)

And here: Phone data helps pinpoint source of traffic congestion (On Balance, Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jan. 2013)

And here:

(48 sec You-Tube, Marta Gonzalez, Dec. 8, 2013)

And here: Gridlock Traced to Just a Few Key Commuters (Rocket News, Dec. 21, 2012)

Today we review research from MIT aimed at diagnosing the dynamics of traffic congestion using mobile phone records and population and origin-destination statistics to identify key congested road segments that lead to major congestion across major cities such as San Francisco and Boston. These congested areas rapidly lead to high levels of pollution that affect the entire urban area which puts both drivers and others such as cyclists who use the roads at risk to their health. Better design of the road network and method to reduce traffic peaks such as congestion pricing are offered as solutions.

traffic congestion

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

 

How Much of a Health Threat is it to Live Near a Highway?

Residential Proximity to Major Roadways and Prevalent Hypertension Among Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative San Diego Cohort (12 page pdf, Kipruto Kirwa, Melissa N. Eliot, Yi Wang, Marc A. Adams, Cindy G. Morgan, Jacqueline Kerr , Gregory J. Norman, Charles B. Eaton, Matthew A. Allison and Gregory A. Wellenius, J Am Heart Assoc., Oct. 1, 2014)

Also discussed here: Hypertension risk rises closer to major roadways (ScienceDaily, Oct. 1, 2014)

And here: Living Near a Highway May Be Bad for Your Blood Pressure (MedlinePLus, Oct. 1, 2014)
Today we review research into the possible links between the prevalence of hypertension for older women (average age 65) and how far they live from a busy roadway or highway. Results indicate that women living within 100 m of a busy road have a 22% higher risk of developing high blood pressure which equates to aging two additional years, compared to women living more than 1000 m from a busy road. The reason for hypertension which affects 1/3 of the USA population may be either noise or air pollution related to emissions from traffic or both.

distance to highway

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Are HOT Lanes Coming to Ontario’s Highways and How do they Work?

HOT Lanes: A Better Way to Attack Urban Highway Congestion – High-occupancy toll lanes benefit all highway users—not just the affluent (6 page pdf, Robert W. Poole Jr. and C. Kenneth Orski, Regulation, 2000)

Also discussed here: HOT Lanes: A Better Way to Attack Urban Highway Congestion (Robert W. Poole Jr. and C. Kenneth Orsk, CATO Institute)

And here: 2014 Ontario Budget Passes in Legislature – Plan Will Create Jobs, Build Modern Infrastructure and Transportation, Enhance Retirement Security (Press Release, Ontario Ministry of Finance, Jul. 24, 2014)

And here: Budget 2014 Building Modern Infrastructure (9 page pdf, Ontario Ministry of Finance, May 1, 2014)

And here: 495 Express Lanes Usage Update – July 2014

And here: Metrolinx: HOT lanes should be used to break the ice for VMT charging (Grush Hour, Apr. 18, 2013)

Today, we review a paper that was written 14 years ago but is still highly relevant in today’s world of congested urban highways that are getting worse, in the US and Canada at least. The authors review the state of car-pool or transit-only lanes (or high occupancy lanes as the transportation planners dub them), conclude that these lanes tend to be underused and are ineffective and point out the advantages of converting that the HOV lane to a HOT lane which introduces supply and demand pricing to the argument. Given also the great pressure for politicians against introducing any tolls but the equally great pressure to generate revenue and lower taxes, HOT lanes seem inevitable.

One must think that the government in Ontario is thinking along the same lines as they propose HOT lanes for all 400-series highways in the province, included in the May 1, 2014 budget and repeated in a budget bill that received Royal Assent on Jul. 24, 2014 as part of the “economic tools” to pay for over $30B needed for public transit over the next 20 years. A first step to more comprehensive road and congestion pricing perhaps?

how HOT lanes work

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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