Friday, July 10, 2009

Truck Traffic and Asthma

Truck traffic is linked to Asthma. Though, there are many reasons that a child can develop asthma, the most important being parents who smoke, truck traffic is a leading cause of the disease. Truck traffic in urban areas threaten the health of our children and the family's quality of life. Children with health issues are more likely to miss school due to illness and parents are more likely to miss work due to caring for ill children.

An article in the The New York Times , Oct 2006, explains how children exposed to high truck traffic have increased risk of developing asthma.

"A group of schoolchildren carried the monitors everywhere they went. The instruments, attached to the backpacks of children with asthma, allowed researchers at New York University to measure the pollution the children were exposed to, morning to night."

"Airborne particles like dust, soot and smoke that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are small enough to lodge themselves deep in the lungs. Studies have linked pollution of this sort to respiratory problems, decreased lung function, nonfatal heart attacks and aggravated asthma, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

E.P.A. officials said these fine particles, a significant portion of which are produced by diesel engine emissions, lead to 15,000 premature deaths a year nationwide.

In the South Bronx study, of the 69 days for which measurements were taken over the three-year period, average daily exposure to fine-particle pollution for a group of 10 children exceeded the E.P.A.’s new standard on 18 days. The standard will be 35 micrograms per cubic meter in December."

Here is a study done by the University of Buffalo .

"In Erie and Niagara counties, mortality was greater in urban areas than in suburban or rural areas.

Buffalo, the most urbanized area in the 2 counties, had the highest annual mortality rate, comparable to that of New York City. Buffalo accounts for 20% of western New York's population but was responsible for 50% of asthma mortality in the region during the study period. The 2 zip codes with the highest asthma mortality rates in Buffalo comprise areas with large African American populations.3 Many US cities have large minority populations living in poverty, among whom the prevalence and severity of asthma are high.46

Given the reversibility of asthma and the availability of effective treatment strategies, deaths due to asthma are avoidable. The present report provides a basis for targeting interventions and evaluating their effectiveness."

This study looks directly at the Peace Bridge as it stands with today's truck traffic. Females and children are showing high rates of asthma. The community living near the bridge compose a large Latino community who as a group due to living near the current plaza have high rates of asthma.

This study was performed by the University of Buffalo.

"Results of a study of residents who live near the second-busiest U.S.-Canadian border crossing, located in Buffalo, show that females, individuals between the ages of 6 and 34 years and persons of Latino descent are at increased risk of developing asthma or chronic respiratory illness.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo, has implications for all heavily trafficked border crossings and residential areas near major truck traffic routes.

Traffic-related pollution at border crossings, in particular, currently is receiving more attention than in the past, said Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, M.D., because of an increase in diesel-burning commercial traffic due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and tightened post-9/11 border inspections that result in trucks waiting in long lines with their motors idling."

No comments: