Thursday, January 5, 2017


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries an interesting article titled "Living close to high-traffic roadway raises dementia risk, study shows". The study was co-authored by Dr. Ray Copes, chief of environmental and occupational health at Public Health Ontario, and was published in the British medical journal Lancet. There is apparently a direct increase in one's risk of dementia based upon how close one is living to busy roads and highways. Obviously the numbers of at risk individuals is much higher in larger cities with their corresponding higher vehicle counts. That said this is of small consolation to those living in smaller towns who are however within 50 metres of a busy roadway or highway.

Here in Elmira the problem would apply if we are living close to Church St. and or Arthur St. which runs north-south through Elmira. This study certainly validates the concerns of residents who expressed worries regarding greater truck traffic along Arthur St. on their way to Woolwich Bio-En in the north end of town. Truck traffic of course brings accompanying noise issues as well as primarily diesel fumes which have been implicated in other negative health effects.

I've said it before and will say it again. Science is decades behind conclusive proof of the extent of human health damage caused by numerous environmental factors. Our health systems are decades behind in acknowledging risk factors when many contaminants causing various cancers do not show up as diseases until many years of exposure have occurred.

It would seem obvious that even regular commuting on busy highways is unhealthy albeit the exposure would still be less than for those living beside said highways. Time for diversions of major traffic as much as possible away from residential homes. Time for the Elmira By-Pass here in Elmira, Ontario to be built.

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