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Traffic-related air pollution exposure over a 5-year period is associated with increased risk of asthma and poor lung function in middle age

Gayan Bowatte, Bircan Erbas, Caroline J. Lodge, Luke D. Knibbs, Lyle C. Gurrin, Guy B. Marks, Paul S. Thomas, David P. Johns, Graham G. Giles, Jennie Hui, Martine Dennekamp, Jennifer L. Perret, Michael J. Abramson, E. Haydn Walters, Melanie C. Matheson, Shyamali C. Dharmage

European Respiratory Journal 2017 50: 1602357

November 2017

What did the study find?

Published in the European Respiratory Journal, we've found that 709 Australians aged 45-50 who lived less than 200 metres from a major road or had high nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure had increased risk of asthma, wheeze and lower lung function over a five-year period. And this was at air pollution levels much lower than the Australian ‘safe’ standard. 

Why does it matter?

Australia has very low air pollution levels by world standards, and yet even at these levels there is a relationship between air pollution exposure and poor health. It suggests that when it comes to air pollution we should be moving away from sticking to the 'safe' standard and towards pollution minimisation. That is, when it comes to traffic related air pollution, the lower then better.

CAR members involved in this study

  • Gayan Bowatte (first author)

  • Luke Knibbs

  • Guy Marks

  • Martine Dennekamp

  • Jennifer Perret

  • Michael Abramson

  • Shyamali Dharmage

Media and other coverage of this study 

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