New medical research has found that children living in areas of heavy traffic have an increased risk of respiratory disorders. The research, conducted in Taiwan and Germany, presents further evidence of the links between vehicle emissions and ill health.
More than 24,000 people in the UK are known to die prematurely every year as a result of air pollution.
In Germany, studies of more than 4,000 children found that the risk of asthma doubled among those living near roads with heavy traffic. In Taiwan, scientists conducted a study involving 800 schools where children exposed to high levels of traffic pollution had a 16% increased risk of suffering hayfever, which has been linked with asthma.
Colin Matthews, head of customer services for TransportEnergy, which works on the behalf of the Government to improve the quality of the UK's environment, said: 'More and more medical studies make the link between vehicle pollution and health problems.
'The industry could be doing much more to limit this potential risk to the general public and drivers alike, through converting to green fuels and fitting emissions-reducing equipment to vehicles.'
TransportEnergy, a division of the Energy Saving Trust, offers grants through its CleanUp and PowerShift programmes.
Matthews added: 'The technology and Government funding is in place to improve air quality through converting to green fuels or through fitting emissions-reducing equipment. With CleanUp and PowerShift grants, there's no excuse not to clean up vehicle emissions producing undeniable environmental and health benefits.'
Last year, a major study warned that long-term exposure to diesel exhaust emissions could cause lung cancer (Fleet NewsNet September 12, 2002). The findings were produced in the Health Assessment Document for Diesel Engine Exhaust released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.