Term traffic pollution refers mostly to the form of air pollution coming from vehicles (excessive traffic), though it sometimes can also refer to noise pollution coming from cars and other vehicles.
Traffic pollution still continues to grow, even despite the cleaner vehicle engines. This is because there are more cars on the roads as the result of growing human population.
One of the U.S. cities worst affected with traffic pollution is Los Angeles. In Europe, this is the case with Athens.
Several studies have confirmed the link between the excessive traffic-related air pollution and premature birth. Pre-term born babies have an increased risk of death and are more likely to develop different disabilities throughout their life. This means that pregnant women should try to reduce their exposure to traffic as much as possible. Not only that, heavy exposure of children to traffic pollution can also cause asthma, allergies as well as impaired respiratory function.
A high level of traffic pollution also increases the risk of heart attack and can therefore lead to a premature death from heart disease. Traffic-related air pollution can also cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain.
The recent EU study has shown that lung transplant patients that have lived in areas close to traffic pollution have double the risk of organ rejection.
According to a recent study by the University of Massachusetts the total additional asthma-specific costs due to traffic-related pollution are at about $18 million per year.
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness in developed countries. Excessive traffic pollution is one of the main factors causing asthma in many parts of the world.
Elderly people who live in areas with high levels of traffic pollution often have lower performance in cognitive tests compared to those who had been exposed to lower levels of traffic pollution throughout their life.