Study shows health dangers of living near interstates

Posted at: 11/06/2013 8:41 PM
Updated at: 11/06/2013 8:44 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's the most active part of the Duke City when it comes to traffic: Interstate 25 and 40.

But it's also here where numerous air pollutants are emitted almost non-stop.

Not only is this area heavily congested, but a quarter of a million people in Albuquerque live nearby.

UNM professor Dr. Greg Rowangould just finished up a study that found people across the country live close to major highways.

"Nationally, we found 60 million people live within that proximity to these roadways, so that's an area you might be at risk to exposure of these higher concentrations of air pollutants," he said.

Another concern: The instruments used to measure air quality aren't close to the highways.

"We found in most places that the monitors are located far away from the road," he said.

One of the air quality monitoring sites in Albuquerque is located near San Pedro and Gibson, well away from both I-25 and I-40. Three other sites are located within similar distances from the highways.

Professor Rowangould says we're not getting an accurate picture of how bad the air quality is in Albuquerque.

He also says if you live close to the interstate, you might be putting your health at risk.     

Rowangould is now helping transportation planners and engineers predict air quality impact. He's also recommending that air quality monitoring sites be moved closer to interstates to get better readings.