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Last Updated: February 20, 2019


Air Quality: Traffic 1

Images: Property of UNC CEHS COEC

Big Idea: Exposure to traffic exhaust affects lung function and development.

Talking Points:

  • Exposure to high levels of ozone can more than triple a child’s risk of getting asthma.
  • As UNC researchers study the effects of traffic on lung health, we’re learning that exposure to brief low levels of ozone damages the lung function of both asthma patients and young healthy adults without asthma. This low level exposure causes people with asthma to experience inflamed lung cells.
  • Research has shown that living and playing close to busy roadways (within one-third of a mile) worsens asthma and even affects lung development in youth. In this image, the little boy’s lungs are a little smaller, to represent less development than the lungs of the little girl who is located further from the heavy traffic.

Alexis et al, 2013. The Glutathione-S-Transferase null genotype and increased neutrophil response to low level ozone (0.06 ppm).
Hernandez et al. 2012. Atopic asthmatics have reduced airway inflammatory cell recruitment after inhaled endotoxin challenge compared to healthy volunteers.
Guarnieri and Balmes, 2014. Outdoor Air Pollution and Asthma
Peden, “Air Pollution and Health Effects” (chapter 4) in Air Pollution and Asthma. 2015

Categories: Air Quality