The Hamilton Spectator March 30, 2004 - Susan Lamey Special to The Hamilton
People living within 50 metres of a major roadway such as King
Street in Hamilton are dying faster than those living beyond
Dr. Murray Finkelstein, associate professor in Occupational
Health and Environmental Medicine at McMaster University, said
death rates double for people who live in high pollution areas.
Deaths are from heart disease and stroke and not respiratory
diseases usually expected from air pollution.
Finkelstein and six colleagues published a study in September,
2003 called Relation between Income, Air Pollution and Mortality:
A Cohort Study.
Citing the study, he spoke yesterday at the third Upwind Downwind
Conference, A Practical Conference on Improving Air Quality,
hosted by the City of Hamilton.
Finkelstein said the study, using pollution measuring devices
throughout Hamilton and Toronto, showed that pollution levels
were not highest in the heart of cities but near a roadway.
For example, downtown Toronto has less air pollution than along
Products of internal combustion engines are gases and particles
which pollute the air. Diesel engines produce a hundred times
more pollutants than gas engines with catalytic converters.
The sulphur in automobile and diesel fuels leads to sulphur
dioxides in exhaust that, when mixed with water, creates sulphuric
acid, Finkelstein said. Nitrogen oxide is also produced and
deaths increase by 5 per cent for every part per billion that
nitrogen oxide gas increases.
Critics of Hamilton's eight kilometre, four-lane, Red Hill
Creek Expressway, due to open in 2007, are concerned with results
of studies such as Finkelstein's.
Along the expressway route are Elizabeth Bagshaw School, single
family homes on Pottruff Road, town homes on Lang Street and
apartment buildings along Greenhill.
A similar study conducted in the United States stated living
within 100 metres of a major roadway doubles the death rate,
The consensus is that when pollution goes up deaths go up,