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Many US public schools in 'air pollution danger zone'
Date:8/18/2008

CINCINNATIOne in three U.S. public schools are in the "air pollution danger zone," according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC).

UC researchers have found that more than 30 percent of American public schools are within 400 meters, or a quarter mile, of major highways that consistently serve as main truck and traffic routes.

Research has shown that proximity to major highwaysand thus environmental pollutants, such as aerosolizing diesel exhaust particlescan leave school-age children more susceptible to respiratory diseases later in life.

"This is a major public health concern that should be given serious consideration in future urban development, transportation planning and environmental policies," says Sergey Grinshpun, PhD, principal investigator of the study and professor of environmental health at UC.

To protect the health of young children with developing lungs, he says new schools should be built further from major highways.

"Health risk can be mitigated through proper urban planning, but that doesn't erase the immediate risk to school-age children attending schools that are too close to highways right now," he adds. "Existing schools should be retrofitted with air filtration systems that will reduce students' exposure to traffic pollutants."

The UC-led team reports its findings in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, an international scientific journal. This is believed to be the first national study of school proximity and health risks associated with major roadways.

For this study, Grinshpun's team conducted a survey of major metropolitan areas representative of all geographical regions of the United States: Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Denver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis and San Antonio.

More than 8,800 schools representing 6 million students were included in the survey. Primary data wa
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Contact: Amanda Harper
amanda.harper@uc.edu
513-558-4657
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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