Improving health in communities near highways: An important new report

STEP has been a long-time partner in CAFEH, the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health Study, which serves as the larger umbrella for 5 related community-based participatory research (CBPR) air pollution studies. Their new report, "Improving Health in Communities Near Highways: Design Solutions from a Charrette," summarizes effective design approaches to reducing near highway residents' exposure to traffic-related air pollution. Specific locations in Chinatown and Somerville are used as case studies. Download the full CAFEH report. Boston Globe coverage: "Study warns of microscopic pollution." Download a 2-page crib sheet from Wig. Any questions? Email us at

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Car emissions are deadlier than car crashes

A research team led by Fabio Caiazzo of MIT recently quantified the impact of air pollution and premature death in the United States for the year 2005. They found that road-related particulate matter was responsible for about 19% more deaths, nationwide, than car crashes. Read all about it. Our own Wig Zamore adds: Unfortunately, the air pollution death valuation is WAY LOW because only traffic contributions to regional, as opposed to local, pollution are counted. Experienced and well regarded southern California environmental health scientists will soon publish a heath impact assessment study suggesting that in 2035 local traffic related air pollution in southern California will be responsible for as many deaths per year as total regional fine particle pollution. Given how much smaller the near roadway population is this is a stunning outcome!…

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Study on traffic pollution and child asthma

Science Daily: "Near-Roadway Air Pollution a Major Contributor to Asthma in Los Angeles County, Research Finds" "Our findings suggest that there are large and previously unappreciated public health consequences of air pollution in Los Angeles County and probably other metropolitan areas with large numbers of children living near major traffic corridors," said Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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Update on Tufts/STEP transportation health study

Tufts Medicine Magazine: "Big Road Blues: Living Near a Highway Can Be Bad for Your Health in a Million Small Ways" (PDF) "The goal of the study, expected to wrap up a year from now, is to understand how vehicular pollution affects the health of people living close to a highway." "'When it comes to air pollution, the main thing that really affects people is particulates - not gases,' says Doug Brugge, the study's principal investigator and a professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts. 'The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that they cause 80,000 or 100,000 deaths a year in the United States, and maybe four million or more worldwide.'"

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New study on health impacts of fine particulates

An important new report from American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force and Earthjustice (originally the Sierra Club legal arm) has just been released: “SICK OF SOOT – How the EPA can save lives by cleaning up fine particle pollution.” This summarizes a large new study which calculates the health effects of fine particles in the US.


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