A recent study determined that homes that line the side of Clark Dr. in Vancouver could see just as much or more traffic pollution than the neighbourhoods closest to North America’s busiest highway: the 401, just north of Toronto. The results are surprising: Clark has 10 times less traffic than the 401.
Traffic pollution is a “complex soup of a huge number of chemicals,” said Greg Evans, a professor of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at the University of Toronto and one of the study’s authors. It’s been linked to both respiratory issues, such as asthma, as well as heart disease, according to Health Canada.
Evans said there could be elevated levels of traffic pollution as far as 250 metres from a major road, depending on weather conditions, which means it could affect millions of people across the country. Roughly a third of Canadians live that close to a major road, he said.