Saturday, August 18, 2007

Challenge to Sen. Chris Harris and Highland Village Mayor Costa to support your assertions that there is no health risk for children

August 18, 2007

Dear Mayor Costa and Senator Harris,

I write because I am attempting to educate myself on the issue of air pollution in regard to one’s residence, its proximity to a highway similar to the proposed FM 2499, Section 4, and children’s health. Your letters to the Highland Village Parents Group are evidence that you are attempting to educate yourselves as well.

Along that line, I would greatly appreciate the information and studies cited to you by TXDOT and the physicians you consulted to support their position that I and the community should have, as Senator Harris stated, “no cause for concern.” In researching the issue myself, I found various studies that address the same subject as the USC School of Medicine study. Following are a few I came across.

Distance-weighted traffic density in proximity to a home is a risk factor for leukemia and other childhood cancers. Radian International, LLC, Denver, CO

The results are suggestive of an association between proximal high traffic streets with traffic counts > or = 20,000 vehicles per day and childhood cancer, including leukemia.

[Features of traffic near houses and respiratory damage in children: the results of the SIDRIA (Italian Study on Respiratory Problems in Children and the Environment)]. Unit of Cancer Epidemiology, S Giovanni Battista Hospital and Center for Cancer Prevention, Piemonte, Torino, Italy.

For children living in metropolitan areas, a clear association was found between high flow of heavy vehicles near their residence and several respiratory conditions.

Childhood leukemia and road traffic: A population-based case-control study, Lombardy Cancer Registry, National Cancer Institute, Milano, Italy

Evidence suggests that children living in homes that are heavily exposed living

Traffic-related Air Pollution near Busy Roads. The East Bay Children's Respiratory Health Study. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency, Oakland; and Atmospheric Sciences Department and Indoor Environment Department, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California

“We found spatial variability in traffic pollutants and associated differences in respiratory symptoms in a region with good air quality. Our findings support the hypothesis that traffic-related pollution is associated with respiratory symptoms in children.”

Air pollution from truck traffic and lung function in children living near motorways.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands

The results indicate that exposure to traffic-related air pollution, in particular diesel exhaust particles, may lead to reduced lung function in children living near major motorways.

Traffic-related air pollution is associated with atopy in children living in urban areas. Medical Institute of Environmental Hygiene at the Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany

The results indicate that traffic-related air pollution leads to increased prevalence of atopic sensitizations, allergic symptoms, and diseases.

Air Pollution from Traffic and the Development of Respiratory Infections and Asthmatic and Allergic Symptoms in Children. School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health Group, Utrecht University, Utrecht; RIVM-National Institute of Public Health and Environment, Bilthoven; Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University, and Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam; Beatrix Children’s Hospital and Department of Epidemiology, Groningen University, Groningen, The Netherlands; Institute of Epidemiology, GSF National Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany; Department of Environmental Health, Stockholm County Council; and Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

This study has suggested an association between self-reported prevalence of respiratory illness, specifically wheezing, ear/nose/ throat infections, and reporting of physician-diagnosed asthma and flu or serious cold, and traffic-related air pollution.

There are several more studies relating to the subject of traffic-related air pollution and its significant impact on children’s health. I will gladly provide you with the names of these reports.

Very truly yours,

Roxane Thomas
Highland Village

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