People in urban areas, living near high-traffic roadways, are likely exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution in the air they breathe. Health problems are known to be linked to air pollution from vehicles, which contains small particles and other pollutants such as carbon monoxide and benzene.
Other common sources of air pollution are industrial activities, wildfires, and smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces.
Why is traffic air pollution data important?
- In Washington about 1 in 7 (900,000) people live within 1/4 mile of heavy traffic roadways. These people breathe more air pollution from diesel and gasoline exhaust.
- People with an underlying health condition like asthma or heart disease, may be especially sensitive to traffic-related air pollution, as are children and adults age 65 and older.
- Traffic air pollution is linked to adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight and premature births.
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- Keep heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems working properly, replace air filters as recommend. Consider using a portable HEPA filtration unit.
- Keep windows and doors closed during peak traffic times and make sure they have good seals.
- When outside avoid idling traffic and when jogging, running or cycling, avoid the most traffic-heavy roads if you can.
- If you are stuck in heavy traffic, keep car windows and air vents closed. Use the "recirculate" mode if a fan is needed.
Air Pollution and School Activities Guide (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions, EPA
Real-time Air Conditions, Ecology
Residential Proximity to Highways, CDC
Respiratory Health and Air Pollution, CDC
State of the Air 2015, American Lung Association
Take Action to Reduce Impacts, CDC
For information or questions related to the Washington Tracking Network, email DOH.WTN@doh.wa.gov.
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