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EPA, University of Michigan to Research Health Effects of Roadway Pollution on Children

Release Date: 07/07/2009
Contact Information: Skip Anderson, anderson.skip@epa.gov, 202-564-9551, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $1.4 million joint study with the University of Michigan on the health effects of air pollution on children living near the nation’s heavily traveled thoroughfares. The study is funded through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results program.

“The knowledge gained from this study will arm local governments with the best available science when planning some of their most important projects, such as road and school design," said Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development. “This information will help build safer communities for our children.”

Under the cooperative agreement, researchers will study the types of pollutants common near roadways, how people are exposed to them, the extent of exposures, and the types and severity of health effects. More than 45 million people in the U.S. live within 300 feet of a four-lane road, airport, or railroad.

EPA and the University of Michigan will study traffic-associated pollution in Detroit and whether it could lead to more severe asthma attacks in children ages 6 to 14. The study will also explore whether traffic exposure has any effects on the likelihood of respiratory viral infections and will help researchers improve the predictive capabilities of computer models.

The research will be useful for policy makers developing mitigation plans to reduce exposures to air pollution for people living or working near roadways. State highway planners and environmental agencies can use the science to assess local impacts of vehicle emissions and determine the need for and impact of future road projects.

More information on the study: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/near-roadway

More information on EPA’s STAR program: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/grants/