Busy Hours of Traffic Negatively Affect Human Health

caution when going outside during rush hour traffic
caution when going outside during rush hour traffic

Air quality, which is one of the leading environmental factors that can adversely affect human health, is especially important for the elderly, children and pregnant women in the vulnerable group.

Istanbul Technical University Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Climate and Marine Sciences Department Faculty Member Prof. Dr. Alper Ünal said, “It would be beneficial for those in the vulnerable group to take care not to be outside in the morning and evening hours when the traffic is heavy. "Avoiding activities such as walking, exercising and resting close to high-traffic areas is a simple but effective solution."

Experts warn that air quality affects the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases the most, and those in this group should not be outside, especially during rush hours. Research shows that especially children are affected by air quality from the womb.

Istanbul Technical University Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Climate and Marine Sciences Department, Prof. Dr. Alper Unal; warned the elderly, sick and pregnant women to behave carefully.

In Turkey to Antalya from Sinop, 31, one of the important mission of the project including the provinces also pointed out that to ensure public awareness on this issue Unal, the air quality was low, especially when the weather is cold has the following warning for risk groups:

Older people, children, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases should not spend long time outdoors in cold weather. If it is necessary to go out, it is necessary to protect the mouth and nose with a scarf, shawl or mask.

It is useful to be careful not to be outside when the traffic is heavy in the evening.

Avoiding activities such as walking, exercising, picnics and resting close to high-traffic areas is a simple but effective solution.

This should be noted not only for adults, but also for babies and children. Because the lungs are still in the developmental stage in children in the growing period and children breathe faster than their body weight. For this reason, air quality is important as more air is inhaled with each breath. Since children are shorter than adults, they are more affected by traffic-related pollution. For this reason, children should not be walked close to the roadside when the air quality is low.

Pregnant women share everything with their babies; eats, drinks, breathes… The effects of air can sometimes hide itself. It is also an important precaution not to miss routine checks.

It is also recommended that underpasses and tunnels are not used by vulnerable groups and the elderly whenever possible. Exhaust from vehicles is mostly accumulated here. Walks should be preferred from side streets rather than on the street. If traveling by vehicle, closing windows and vents in tunnels and underpasses is a very easy and effective solution.

Alo 181 Environment Line can be called to obtain information about air pollution and to report adverse situations.

 What does air pollution cause?

The World Health Organization revealed in its research in 2019 that air pollution is very harmful especially for the fetus during pregnancy. Air pollution increases the risk of pregnancy loss, just like smoking, it also increases the risk of low birth weight while causing premature birth. (World Health Organization, 2019)

Fertility Problems: Studies have revealed that air pollution causes reproductive impairment and infertility in men and women. Some studies show that air pollution causes pregnancy loss (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2017).

Risk of Miscarriage: Short-term exposure to high air pollution increases the risk of miscarriage. (Fertility and Sterility, 2019).

Early birth: The increase in particulate matter pollution caused by particles in the range of 2,5 μm - 10 μm causes a significant increase in the risk of preterm birth. (Environmental Resarch, 2019) 3 million babies are born prematurely each year due to air pollution.

Low Birth Weight: Under two and a half kilos in babies is considered "low birth weight". Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy causes babies to be born with low weight. (World Health Organization, 2019)

Decline in Brain Functions: Exposure to particulate matter pollution during pregnancy doubles the risk of autism in babies born. (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2017) The study conducted at Harvard University revealed that the risk of autism in babies born to pregnant women living near a highway with a high particle ratio is doubled. In addition, in young children exposed to hydrocarbon pollution, the area of ​​the brain related to concentration, reasoning, judgment and problem solving is adversely affected. (JAMA Psychiatry, 2015)

Asthma: It is a known fact that air pollution increases asthma. In pregnant women, this can be dangerous because: asthma causes high blood pressure, decreased liver and kidney function. Also, particulate matter contamination can reach the placenta, increasing the likelihood of the baby developing asthma later. (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2019)

In a 2019 study, more than 25 newborns were examined and it was found that Particulate Matter (PM) was associated with neonatal jaundice. (Nature, 2019)

Republic of Turkey and funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Environment and conducted by the Ministry of Urbanism CITYAIR projects we have of qualifying as one of the vulnerable groups of the most important pillars of children, pregnant and raise awareness about air quality in the elderly.

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