Exhausting Children?s Health: Developing Healthier Learning Environments for California Students
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As Americans, we would never relinquish the mobility and freedom our roadways provide, but would gladly do without the traffic, accidents, and pollution that result from the same system. Many people have yet to comprehend the magnitude of the negative consequences created by our freeways. On the road, our cars and trucks emit at least forty different toxic air contaminants. These contaminants include: black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), and elemental carbon. We rarely consider the secondary problems such as asthma, allergic reactions, bronchitis, respiratory symptoms, reduced lung function, and cancer that develop from exposure to these vehicle emissions. As our road system continues to expand and development grows closer to freeways, our exposure to these harmful chemicals increases. This study begins by outlining the health hazards facing children attending schools close to California freeways. It continues by reviewing California legislation aimed at reducing these hazards, and concludes with recommendations on how to provide children with healthier learning environments in the future.