May 07, 2012
Higher Heart Risk When Living Near Highways

Beware the demon car exhaust. Long range commuters probably face a similar risk.

BOSTON Living close to a major highway poses a significant risk to heart attack survivors, reinforcing the need to isolate housing developments from heavy traffic areas, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study concludes.

Writing in the May 7 edition of Circulation, researchers found heart attack survivors living less than 100 meters or 328 feet from a roadway have a 27 percent higher risk of over within 10 years than survivors living at least 1,000 meters away. That risk recedes to 13 percent for those living between 200 and 1,000-meter or 656 to 3,277-feet from the roadway.

"Living close to a highway is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes in those with underlying cardiac disease," says Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, a physician in the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of BIDMC's cardiovascular epidemiological research program. "Besides air pollution, exposure to noise could be a possible mechanism underlying this association."

I have a HEPA air filter unit running as I type this. I wonder how much it reduces health risk from living near a moderately busy nearby roadway.

Also see a previous post on why green acres is the place to be.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 May 07 10:24 PM  Aging Pollution Studies

David Friedman said at May 8, 2012 1:07 AM:

I think you are too quick to believe the conclusion. Do you know what variables they controlled for? This sort of study isn't a controlled experiment, with subjects allocated at random, and there might be a variety of differences between people who live close to roadways and people who live far from them.

nic said at May 8, 2012 6:00 AM:

Who could have thought "roadkill" could be done indirectly...

Fat Man said at May 8, 2012 9:51 PM:

Doctors with computers. Never a good thing.

PacRim Jim said at May 10, 2012 1:38 PM:

There is a direct correlation between distance from main streets and time required for an ambulance to arrive in the event of emergency.
Want clean air? Then live in the countryside. But know that help will take longer to arrive.
Everything has a cost, and nature never forgets to send us the bill.

brotherStefan said at May 13, 2012 11:23 AM:

I, too, wonder about a rush to conclusion. I thought our air was cleaner now than it was 50 years ago. I also wonder if people living further from a major roadway might not spend a little more time outdoors, or walk a little more. Not knowing more about controlled-for variables, or whether or not the study was intended to make a point, I'll remain skeptical.

BignJames said at May 13, 2012 12:44 PM:

How much traffic?

David Pittelli said at May 13, 2012 12:50 PM:

Given that adults choose where they live, within the constraints of economic ability, other possible factors (besides highway pollution and noise):
1) Poorer people live closer to highways. (Probably the study tried to account for that.)
2) People with less connection to nature and the outdoors live closer to highways. This would be even more true of the people who live there even though they have enough money to live in a more sedate area.
3) People who know they need quick access to the hospital live near highways.
4) People who live close to a highway also live in a stressful environment, independent of the fumes and noise of the highway itself (e.g., because the neighborhood is more crowded they are more stressed emotionally, and less likely to hang out outdoors).
5) People who choose to live close to a highway choose to live there because they are more auto-oriented, and less apt to walk places. (They may have trouble walking, or just be lazier.)
6) People who live close to a highway in fact drive more places, and walk to fewer, independent of their inherent level of auto-orientation. (They get less exercise.)
7) People who live close to a highway are tempted by the convenience of less wholesome forms of entertainment to which they may easily drive (e.g., more nightclubbing, less time spent at home with family).

Fred17 said at May 13, 2012 1:52 PM:

If I believed all the "studies" like this I'd be too paralyzed to live. Ranks right up there with how bad eggs were back when etc. So . . . . .

anonyq said at May 13, 2012 2:06 PM:

This are all reasonable reasons when you compare people who live less than 100 meter from a highway and those that live more than 1km from a highway. But the people who live between 200m and 1km from a highway are almost the same as the >1km. And 200 meter is just to little to use your reasons. A more likely explanation is fine dust made by the vehicles on the highway as it really fast loses it potency with distance

Denver said at May 13, 2012 2:24 PM:

"Higher Heart Risk When Living Near Highways"

Which is why, I suppose, along with fast food, transfats and Crisco, Americans are living longer, healthier lives, than at any point in history.

Karl said at May 13, 2012 2:52 PM:

The future does not belong to people that confuse correlation with causation.

So does living there cause heart attacks or do people with other markers for heart disease tend to pick these places to live?

The arrow of causation hasn't been shown - and not only that what about third place variables - do people that live farther from highways have more money and thus eat a better diet?

Such garbage is not worth repeating.

Correlative studies only show where a real experiment might bear fruit.

bobby b said at May 13, 2012 3:00 PM:

" . . . there might be a variety of differences between people who live close to roadways and people who live far from them."
- - - -

A.) Length of their driveways.
B.) . . . . (umm . . . . uh . . . )

Nope. That's all I got.

anonyq said at May 14, 2012 3:25 PM:

This is causality. They have done the same statistics with council flats estate and distance to motorway and you get the same result.

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