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Sci Total Environ. 2003 Aug 1;312(1-3):43-6.

Ambient nitrogen dioxide and distance from a major highway.

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Air Health Effects Division, Health Canada, 7th Floor, 275 Slater St., PL 3807B, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L2, Canada.


The primary objective of this pilot study was to measure the variation of ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) concentration with increasing distance from a major highway in Montréal, Canada, in order to assess the validity of distance from the roadways as a surrogate for exposure to traffic-related air pollution in epidemiologic studies. A total of 31 two-sided Ogawa passive samplers (using triethanolamine-impregnated filters as an absorbent) were installed for 7 days in groups of two or three along an axis perpendicular to a major highway where traffic density exceeds 100000 vehicles/day. Distances ranged from 0 to 1310 m from the highway. Concentrations of NO(2) ranged from 11.9 to 29.3 ppb, and decreased significantly with increasing logarithmic distance from the highway (P<0.0001). Concentrations of NO(2) were also significantly lower upwind than downwind relative to the highway (P=0.0012). These findings indicate that distance from highways may be a valid surrogate for traffic-related air pollution.

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