Monday, May 20, 2013

Proximity to Major Roadways & Our Health

A study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found a link between living proximity to roadways and kidney health.

It is understandable that where you live can influence your short and long term health. Exposure to harmful particulate matter that is emitted from vehicles can have adverse health effects. For myself I have commonly imagined neighborhoods I would like to live in Portland. While some neighborhoods seem desirable, I can’t help but imagine a cloud of emissions near major roadways. In reading an article from the Huffington post, I can now see actual data that may influence where I choose to live in the future and may affect the value of a house in the future (if not already).

The study found that a decreased glomerular filtration rate (or GFR, which is a known indicator of kidney health) and a persons proximity to a major roadway. They looked at 1,100 people between 1999 and 2004 in Boston. These individuals had been submitted to the hospital for strokes. Half of the patients lived within 0.6 miles of a major roadway while others lived 0.6-6.2 miles. For those living 164 feet of the major road had an even lower GFR than everyone else.

The study is quoted as saying "living close to a major roadway is associated with higher levels of exposure to air pollution from traffic and an increased risk of stroke and other major adverse cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction...Long-term exposure to traffic pollution leads to vascular endothelial injury, systemic inflammation, atherosclerosis and microvascular changes."

Other studies have shown additional health risks including autism, childhood cancer, atherosclerosis, and early death.


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