Exposure to Traffic Emissions and Fine Particulate Matter and Computed Tomography Measures of the Lung and Airways


Exposure to ambient air pollution has been associated with lower lung function in adults, but few studies have investigated associations with radiographic lung and airway measures.


We ascertained lung volume, mass, density, visual emphysema, airway size, and airway wall area by computed tomography (CT) among 2,545 non-smoking Framingham CT sub-study participants. We examined associations of home distance to major road and PM2.5 (2008 average from a spatiotemporal model using satellite data) with these outcomes using linear and logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, height, weight, census tract median household value and population density, education, packyears of smoking, household tobacco exposure, cohort, and date. We tested for differential susceptibility by sex, smoking status (former vs never), and cohort.


The mean participant age was 60.1 y (standard deviation 11.9). Median PM2.5 level was 9.7 µg/m3 (interquartile range 1.6). Living 400 m away. There was also a log-linear association between proximity to road and higher lung volume. There were no convincing associations of proximity to major road or PM2.5 with the other pulmonary CT measures. In subgroup analyses, road proximity was associated with lower lung density among men, and higher odds of emphysema among former smokers.


Living near a major road was associated with higher average lung volume, but otherwise we found no association between ambient pollution and radiographic measures of emphysema or airway disease.

* Drs. Mittleman and Washko contributed equally to this study.

Statement on Conflict of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Sources of Financial Support: This results reported herein correspond to specific aim 1 of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences K23 ES026204 grant to Mary B. Rice. This work was also supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (R832416, RD834798), and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (the Framingham Heart Study Contract Nos. N01-HC-25195 and HHSN268201500001I, and T32HL007575), and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (1P20GM109036-01A1). This publication’s contents are solely the responsibility of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the US EPA; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institutes of Health; or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Further, US EPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services.

Process to Replicate Results: Research applications can be submitted to the Framingham Heart Study Research Review Committees online at http://ift.tt/1mdm2Hk.

Acknowledgments: The authors wish to thank the Framingham Heart Study participants for their participation in the study.

Corresponding Author: Mary B. Rice, MD MPH, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, mrice1@bidmc.harvard.edu, Phone: 617-667-3258, Fax: 617-667-4849

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Exposure to Traffic Emissions and Fine Particulate Matter and Computed Tomography Measures of the Lung and Airways


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