"The Wondering Jew"
Jan. 31, 2007 - 18:55 MST
Finally research has verified what we all have known all along. An article by Chris Bowman of The Sacremento Bee in this mornings The Rocky Mountain News seems to be a verification of one of those things. Quoted here in full:
FREEWAY NEIGHBORHOODS TAKE AWAY KIDS' BREATH
Bad air blamed for weaker lungs, illness later in life
"Growing up near a freeway stunts a child's breathing capacity for life and significantly increases the risk of serious lung and heart diseases later in life, according to new research."
"The landmark study was led by University of Southern California scientists who monitored thousands of children for up to eight years."
"The children not only are more likely to develop asthma, but their lung development can be permanently cut short, increasing their odds of having a heart attack or a life threatening respiratory condition, starting as early as their 50s."
"It's a big risk factor," said James Gauderman, the author and principal investigator of the study by researchers at USC's Keck School of Medicine. "If you've got less lung capacity, and you get hit with the flu or pneumonia, you've got less reserve to fall back on."
"The findings carry profound policy implications nationwide for agencies that monitor and regulate air pollution, for locally elected officials who determine where to place new roads and housing tracts, and for education officials who buy property for new schools, California air quality regulators said."
It strengthens the information we need for some of our control programs," said Richard Bode, chief of the health and exposure branch of the state Air Resources Board."
"The study, to be published Feb. 17 in the Lancet medical journal, correlated the data from community air quality samples and annual lung function tests with locations of children's homes, relative to freeways and other busy roadways."
"More than 3,6000 children participated for up to eight years. Investigators examined the link between their exposure to traffic pollution at home and their lung development, measured by how much air the child could forcefully exhale into a device called a spirometer."
"Researchers accounted for factors that could skew results such as socioeconomic status, smoking and breathing disorders such as asthma."
"They found that the overall lung capacity of children living within a mile from a freeway was 3 percent below normal."
"The performance of their tiniest airways, where oxygen is delivered to the bloodstream, was about 7 percent below normal."
"The next study will seek to identify which of the many tailpipe pollutants is most responsible for the reduced breathing capacity, Gauderman said."
There is in my mind much truth in what they say. In January of 1980 we moved to a house on Monaco Parkway (a very busy through street) just off of 14th Avenue (equally a busy, one-way through street. I noticed that rush hour traffic had an effect on my breathing as well as my heightened sensitivity to smog. From that house we moved to an apartment complex just off of that same Monaco Parkway, right next to Alameda Avenue (a supremely busy east-west through street) which was during the time that old Lowry Air Base was being turned into a town in itself as well as so much of the empty land east of that was being developed with apartments, lofts and such. Rush hour there was pretty much gridlock with cars idling waiting of a light change and a bit of forward movement.
I had frequent colds during the winters and noticed increased allergy the year round.
I can't blame everything on that, as I was a drinker and smoker for a great part of that time.
We moved in 2004 to a duplex on the west side of the Denver Area, next to a fairly busy through street, but rush hour traffic is no bumper to bumper cavalcade.
I have noticed that breathing is much easier and colds much less frequent.
Also puts me in mind of where I worked just before I retired. For 13 years I worked at approximately 120th Avenue and Huron Street. Predominantly third shift. On the way home on I-25 south bound I would drop over the crest of a hill which gave me a good look at the city of Denver, made me think to myself, "I have to go down into that gunk ?" The layer of smog was so thick. This what we all were breathing citywide, folks who lived alongside freeways got a double dose.
I don't have a bit of argument with the researchers, and feel that they have hit it right on.
The question in my mind is what can be done about it ? Here in this area we have I-25 south and north and I-70 east and west, along with a bunch of arteries crossing town both quadrants. There is no way they can move those highways that I can see, nor can they afford to buy up the housing for a mile each side of them. New highways would pose the same problem as they would have to cut through town.
So perhaps their new research to see which pollutants are the most harmful are long over due - - - - and the action to correct the problem has been needed for years.
And of course idle political talk about improving the mpg has been pretty idle, hasn't it ? Now we see those gigantic Hummers pushing SUVs out of the way. Nor have we seen speed limits being cut back. Worked some years ago when it was put down to 55mph, people got where they were going, maybe had to leave a bit earlier but still they got there.
I still cannot for the life of me see why folks need to drive tons of steel to and fro, when so much could be done with many fewer pounds moved. Yeah, I know we ride around in a VUE Saturn, sort of a mini SUV because Heather likes to see ahead a bit further than she could in a conventional car, and she does the bulk of the driving for us. But if automotive size could be limited by government, perhaps one wouldn't feel like a fly in a herd of stampeding elephants, and a lane could be set aside for the big rigs and trailers, to where the average bear could see a bit ahead of themselves.
Rather obvious to me that something needs to be done, and quickly before the next generation coming up gets hampered and stunted.
Wasn't much new to me, this bit of NON-NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 comments so far