"New public-health studies and laboratory experiments suggest that, at every stage of life, traffic fumes exact a measurable toll on mental capacity, intelligence and emotional stability."
"So far, the evidence is largely circumstantial but worrisome, researchers say. And no one is certain yet of the consequences for brain biology or behavior. "There is real cause for concern," says neurochemist Annette Kirshner at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. "But we ought to proceed with caution.""
"Recent studies show that breathing street-level fumes for just 30 minutes can intensify electrical activity in brain regions responsible for behavior, personality and decision-making, changes that are suggestive of stress, scientists in the Netherlands recently discovered. Breathing normal city air with high levels of traffic exhaust for 90 days can change the way that genes turn on or off among the elderly; it can also leave a molecular mark on the genome of a newborn for life, separate research teams at Columbia University and Harvard University reported this year."
"Children in areas affected by high levels of emissions, on average, scored more poorly on intelligence tests and were more prone to depression, anxiety and attention problems than children growing up in cleaner air, separate research teams in New York, Boston, Beijing, and Krakow, Poland, found."
"The evidence is growing that air pollution can affect the brain," says medical epidemiologist Heather Volk at USC's Keck School of Medicine. "We may be starting to realize the effects are broader than we realized.""
"...children born to mothers living within 1,000 feet of a major road or freeway in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Sacramento were twice as likely to have autism,..."
"Scientists believe that simple steps to speed traffic are a factor in reducing some public-health problems. In New Jersey, premature births, a risk factor for cognitive delays, in areas around highway toll plazas dropped 10.8% after the introduction of E-ZPass, which eased traffic congestion and reduced exhaust fumes, according to reports published in scientific journals this year and in 2009. The researchers, Princeton University economist Janet Currie and her colleagues at Columbia University, analyzed health data for the decade ending 2003."
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Vehicle Exhaust Linked To Brain-Cell Damage, Higher Rates of Autism
See The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams by ROBERT LEE HOTZ, science writer for the WSJ. In my macro classes earlier this semester I talked about externalities like pollution. The ideal policy to me would be to tax any activity equal to the costs it imposes. This article shows what some of the damages are. Excerpts: