Potential health effects associated with residential proximity to freeways and primary roads: review of scientific literature, 1999–2006
This review presents epidemiologic evidence of adverse health effects associated with residential proximity to traffic. Of the 29 peer-reviewed studies that met the authors’ defined criteria, 25 reported statistically significant associations with at least one adverse health effect across a broad range of exposure metrics and diverse geographical locations. Specific pollutants contributing to the associated health effects could not, however, be identified, and uncertainties existed because of the lack of individual exposure assessments that could rule out confounding by other factors. Improved exposure assessments and future studies should be considered for better identification of contributing pollutants and mechanisms of action. In the meantime, additional policies, additional regulations, and improved land use and urban planning can better protect the public and limit exposure, especially for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children, and the elderly.