Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Advancement of traffic, detriment to our health

There is always a trade-off to the level of technology in each era we live in. Speed and convenience are two of the major benefits we get from the "advanced" technology that we now enjoy, so to speak, compared to 50 years and earlier of living.

But, the price we have to pay for these?

We pay with our health, which is just one of the many fees "imposed to us forcefully".

Should we be getting back to using 'horse-and-carriage'?

Read on...

Traffic pollution leads to increased pneumonia deaths

PARIS - Exhaust fumes from road traffic and other types of fuel combustion are closely linked to excess deaths due to pneumonia, according to a study released Tuesday.

Cross-referencing three sets of data atmospheric emissions, published causes of death and expected causes of death in England for the period 1996-2004, George Knox of Birmingham University attributed some 4,000 extra pneumonia deaths each year to engine pollution.

That is the same number of people killed during the infamous week-long London smog of December 1952, he said.

Levels of air pollution varied substantially from one local administrative region to another, with correspondingly high mortality rate linked to pneumonia, reported the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Nearly 390,000 deaths over the eight years studied were officially attributed to pneumonia.

"Many 'pneumonia' deaths were probably caused by direct chemical injury, as in the 1952 London smog, and thus are better regarded as 'acute respiratory distress syndrome' or 'acute lung injury'," Knox concluded.

Even after potentially confounding social factors such as tobacco consumption were taken into account, pneumonia "was strongly and independently linked to emissions," he told AFP in an e-mail.

Excess death from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and rheumatic heart disease, both characterised by lung failure, could also be precipitated by engine exhaust.

While it is possible that there is a similar proportion of excess pneumonia deaths in other countries with similar levels of pollution from fossil fuel combustion, "extrapolation is impossible," Knox said.

"I think every country has to do its own studies of geographic distributions of pollutants and individual deaths," he told AFP. - AFP/ar

From; source article is below:Traffic pollution leads to increased pneumonia deaths