HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT, URBAN LIVING
German researchers link auto exhaust, poor health
Most people would agree that a flat overlooking a motorway
may be less than ideal. Though the aesthetic downsides to
a flat near a busy road seem rather clear, could it actually
also be hazardous to your health? A recent study conducted
by German scientists indicate that it is, and quite.
The report, published in the September issue of Epidemiology,
analysed the effects of air pollution and tiny particles in
the air on the cardio-vascular condition of older women living
near busy roads in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Conclusions
indicate that women living within 100 metres of highly frequented
roads are 79 percent more likely to develop chronic obstructive
pulmonary diseases (COPD).
near busy roads increases risk of respitory disease.
Studies in the past have hinted at such phenomena and others have studied the situation over a limited period of time, but this is the first time there has been a long-term, statistical analysis in Germany of such a relationship between disease and air pollution from automobiles.
The data for the study come from projects started in the 1980s.
From 1985 to 1994, sicentists studied the effects of air pollution
on the health of women aged 55. Then, between 2002 and 2005
researchers reviewed the data from 4800 of the subjects for
details on mortality, on chronic respiratory diseases and on
their pulmonary function.
They discovered that 3 percent of the study group died from cardiopulmonary causes, i.e. diseases of the cardiovascular system or the respiratory system, that were provoked as a result of living near busy roads.
These evaluations were carried out by scientists from the National Research Center for Environment and Health and the Environmental Health Research Institute, both research institutions in Germany funded by the Ministry of the Environment and Nature Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
As a result of their findings, the researchers are recommending
stricter regulation for air pollution. Recently, scientists
from the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the International
Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) and the International
Society for Exposure Assessment (ISEA) signed a joint declaration
calling for strong legislation at the EU level to limit certain
particles present in air pollution.
They argue that the reduction of tiny particles suspended in
the air could lead to the reduction of anywhere from 4500 to
22 000 premature deaths per year of people 30 and older from
such diseases lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, cardiovascular
complications and others.
GSF - National
Research Center for Environment and Health
European Health Research
European Environment Research