Is Traffic-Related Air Pollution Killing Us?

With vacation season getting underway, and many families planning road trips, a UConn Health researcher discusses the impact of traffic-related air pollution on our health.  (Image: via   pixabay  /  CC0 1.0)
With vacation season getting underway, and many families planning road trips, a UConn Health researcher discusses the impact of traffic-related air pollution on our health. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

It’s summer getaway season. According to AAA, two-thirds of American families are taking a summer vacation this year, and more than half of us are planning a road trip. But is the traffic-related air pollution caused by our road trips, as well as our daily commuting, having a negative impact on our health?

UConn Today discussed this question with environmental health expert Douglas Brugge, professor and Health Net Inc. Endowed Chair in Community Medicine at the UConn School of Medicine, whose research the last decade has focused on increasing scientific knowledge about the health risks associated with traffic-related air pollution, especially adjacent to highways.

What is traffic actually releasing into the air, and where is it most prevalent?

When we breathe in these ultrafine particles, what happens or can happen?

What has your research with Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health shown over the past 10 years that traffic-related air pollution may be doing to our health outcomes?

Who is most at risk for traffic-related air-pollution?

What are some ways those who are at highest risk right now can lower their risk, or improve their health?

What solutions are you and your research partners investigating to respond to this public health issue?

Tell us more about the critical importance of working with community partners, real people and real communities, to help fix this air pollution problem?

With your research findings mounting about what we know, in your opinion, what should be the next steps for regulators and policymakers?

In your new book Particles in the Air, you write about three worldwide air hazards our society may be overlooking. What are they?

What is your No. 1 message to the public?

Provided by: Lauren Woods, University of Connecticut [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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