Living Close to Heavy-Traffic Roads Can Increase the Risk of Lung Cancer

Pollution is bad for the planet and every living thing on it, including us humans – and especially the little humans we’re raising. A new report written by King’s College London warns that living in the vicinity of a heavily trafficked road can have significant and very negative effects on our health.
Living close to major roads can have significant health impact, new paper warns 1 photo
The risks of developing lung cancer, for instance, increase by as much as 10% when you live within 50 meters of a major road, the BBC informs, citing the report in question. The group behind it is comprised of a coalition of 15 health and environment NGOs, and the conclusions were drawn after analyzing data from several major cities in the UK and Poland.

The data included both academic studies and hospital information regarding the type of respiratory complications experienced by those living in highly trafficked areas, as compared to other people living in less polluted regions.

In addition to the increased lung cancer risk, living close to a road that sees heavy traffic around the clock also stunts lung growth in teenagers by 14%, leads to more cases of asthma in kids and teens, and an increased number of underweight babies being born. Cases of coronary heart disease and chest infections are also more frequent in people living close to heavy traffic, due to the fact that they’re breathing in all the toxic compounds in exhaust fumes.

The goal of the paper is to sound the alarm on the need to tackle “dangerous” air pollution in the UK, and create a national network of Clean Air Zones across the country. Even a small decrease in the level of pollutants in the air would translate into a considerable decrease in the number of cases of sick people.

“Air pollution makes us, and especially our children, sick from cradle to the grave, but is often invisible,” Dr. Rob Hughes, senior fellow at NGO Clean Air Fund, says of the findings. “This impressive research makes this public health crisis – which affects people all across the UK – visible, and shows the urgency with which all political parties must prioritize cleaning up our air.”

The UK was among the first countries to pass laws on ending the climate crisis, aiming for a 2050 deadline for bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. This includes switching up the auto industry, with a focus on electric vehicles and ride-sharing but, like in all other territories, the process is proving slow and controversial.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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