Ill health linked to traffic fumes

SCIENTISTS at Lancaster University are claiming a definitive link between poor health and exposure to traffic fumes after a study of 1,000 households in northern England and Scotland, writes Liz Hunt.

The scientists found a strong statistical link between 'low level' symptoms such as runny nose, headache, red and itchy eyes, breathing problems and lack of energy, and the volume of traffic passing close to homes.

Dr John Whitelegge, former director of the environmental epidemiology unit at Lancaster University, and colleagues visited eight cities in northern England and Edinburgh and Glasgow, and distributed questionnaires to 1,000 homes in areas where traffic volume was known to have increased.

'We wanted to know what were the health experiences of people on the streets as the traffic increased,' he said yesterday. 'The results show very clearly that traffic is bad for health.'