Traffic pollution and health - 5 new studies published in just the past few weeks
We already know that pollution has been linked to chronic and acute respiratory diseases, various cancers, risk of stroke, dementia, premature skin ageing and much more. The following are 5 recent studies all published within the past few weeks:
A new study of more than 100,000 people by the University of Denmark, published in Ecological Indicators showed that an increase in pollution particles in the air of 10 micrograms per cubic meter can decrease an individuals life expectancy by up to 9-11 years.
Another recent Danish study published in the journal Environment International found that women living next to busy roads may find it harder to become pregnant. The study of more than 65,000 women found that traffic noise increased the risk of taking longer than 6 months to conceive. Previous studies show that 20% of couples fail to conceive within 6 months and with every 10 decibel increase in traffic noise the risk is raised by 8%.
A new study from Seoul National University published in Environmental Pollution analysed 206,492 men aged 20-59. After adjusting the data for variables including age, BMI, income and smoking they found the chances of being diagnosed infertile were significantly higher in men exposed to traffic noise over 55dB.
The International Journal of Cancer recently published a study which included 20,221 patients with newly diagnosed liver cancer in California between 2000 and 2009. The study showed exposure to particulate air pollution after being diagnosed with liver cancer was significantly associated with an increased risk of premature death. Patients exposed to elevated levels of particulate air pollution had their risk of death increased and their risk rose with higher exposure levels.
Scientists at Harvard University warned "we are all breathing toxic air" after research involving more than 60 million people. Scientists found that even very low "safe" levels of air pollution shorten lives. Previous governments around the world have set targets on "safe levels" of pollution focusing on nitrogen dioxide rather than PM2.5, ultrafine particles that can penetrate our lungs and body's tissues. Legal limits are ridiculously high according to Frank Kelly Professor of environmental health at King's College London.