For more than 20 years, STI has worked with university and government researchers to evaluate how air pollution affects lung function, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, birth outcomes, and other health outcomes in both children and adults. As a small sampling of the many findings these studies have generated, STI scientists, together with our collaborators, have shown that:
  • Pregnant women who resided within approximately 300 m of a freeway either during their last trimester of pregnancy, or at the time they delivered, gave birth to children who were at twice the average risk of being autistic.
  • Children who lived within 500 m of a freeway from ages 10 to 18 experienced substantial deficits in lung function development compared to similarly aged children who lived at least 1500 m from a freeway.
  • Living near a freeway is a strong predictor of traffic-related pollution (TRP). Compared with living at least 1500 m from a freeway, living within 250 m of a freeway was associated with up to a 41% increase in TRP in a large urban area, and up to a 75% increase in small urban areas. Thus, traffic strongly affects local air quality in large and small urban areas.
More extensive illustrations of related work are available from our Southern California Children’s Health Study (CHS) information page. Our work with the CHS has shown that pollution exposure at an early age impedes lung development and can lead to lifetime health risks. Many of these studies have examined exposure and health impacts related to near-road air pollution problems.
Illustrations of near-road and traffic-related health and air quality impacts: Illustrations of GIS-derived traffic density metrics and associated health effects: Illustration of near-road NO2 measurements and explanatory factors: Illustrations of port-related traffic and air quality impacts: Illustration of near-road CALINE4 dispersion modeling analysis: Illustration of near-road air pollution mitigation: