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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2015, Article ID 713540, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/713540
Research Article

Residential Exposure to Urban Traffic Is Associated with Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Children

1Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
2Human Immunology, Nutrition and Disease Research Laboratory, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
3Center for Health Research and Evaluation, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
4Proyecto Prometeo, Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia y Tecnología (SENESCYT), Quito, Ecuador
5Centro de Biomedicina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
6Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
7Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA

Received 8 October 2014; Accepted 12 December 2014

Academic Editor: Evelyn O. Talbott

Copyright © 2015 Rodrigo X. Armijos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Chronic exposure to urban traffic pollution is documented to promote atherosclerosis in adults but little is known about its potential effects in children. Our study examined the association of long-term exposure to traffic with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in 287 healthy children. Residential proximity and distance-weighted traffic density (DWTD) were used as proximity markers for traffic-related air pollution exposure. The multivariable analyses revealed that children residing <100 meters from the nearest heavily trafficked road had cIMT mean and maximum measurements that were increased by 15% and 11% compared to those living ≥ 200 meters away (). Similar increases in cIMT were identified for children in the highest versus lowest DWTD tertile. Children who resided 100–199 meters from traffic or in the middle DWTD tertile also exhibited increased cIMT but these differences were not statistically significant. No statistically significant differences were identified between residential distance to traffic or DWTD and systemic inflammation indicators (CRP, IL-6). The study results suggest that exposure to urban traffic promotes arterial remodeling in children. This finding is important since even small increases in cIMT over time can potentially lead to earlier progression to atherosclerosis. It is also important because traffic-related pollution is potentially modifiable.