A new study out of Los Angeles has added to our knowledge about the burden of living within breathing distance of a main road - it can speed hardening of arteries.
Researchers found that the progression of artery wall thickening (atherosclerosis) in those who live within 100m of a highway was twice as fast as in those who reside farther away from a freeway, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Atherosclerosis can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Study co-author Michael Jerrett, of UC Berkeley, said that "for the first time, we have shown that air pollution contributes to the early formation of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which is connected to nearly half the deaths in Western societies... By controlling air pollution from traffic, we may see much larger benefits to public health than we previously thought."
The study appears this week in the journal PLoS One.