Homes Near Freeways Can Increase Health Risks
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is urging cities and counties to stop allowing homes to be built near freeways because of potential negative health effects from pollution, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The group cites studies that link road pollutants to lung problems and other illnesses. However, cities in the air district "have largely dismissed" the district's warnings against building within 500 feet of freeways, according to the Press-Enterprise.
Barry Wallerstein, executive director of the air district, said, "The health data is clear: We shouldn't have residences, schools, parks and sensitive uses immediately next to larger transportation corridors."
Wallerstein said the air district will increase its efforts to stop cities and counties from building homes near freeways.
District officials highlight studies that link road pollutants with:
- Higher asthma rates;
- Impaired lung development;
- Heart attacks; and
- Premature deaths.
Last year, California voters approved housing bonds that include $300 million for residential developments near train stations.
Wallerstein said that the push toward building homes near transit centers could help reduce the number of cars on freeways, but road pollutants will continue to afflict nearby residents (Danelski/Pitchford, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/10). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.