Perceived traffic air pollution, associated behavior and health in an alpine area

Sci Total Environ. 1995 Jul 8;169(1-3):71-4. doi: 10.1016/0048-9697(95)04634-d.


The relationship of traffic air pollution, perception of exhaust fumes/soot and behavioral impact or symptoms/illnesses was investigated in two surveys (adults: aged 25-65, N = 1989, 62% participation; children: aged 8-12, N = 796, 85% participation) in 13 small alpine communities (Tyrol/Austria) by means of questionnaire responses and air pollution measurements. Although pollutant levels complied with current WHO guidelines, adult respondents felt annoyed by odourous traffic fumes (39.7%) or visible dust/soot (26.9%). Logistic regression analysis revealed that accompanying noise annoyance, rated impairment of life quality, protesting behaviour, noise- and odour-sensitivity was directly associated with perceived air quality, while age above 45 years, smoking, and social support was inversely associated with perceived air quality. Among the symptoms, feelings of fatigue/exhaustion/low mood/nervousness and irritation of the eyes and stomach aches showed a significant association with rated air quality. Children in the traffic exposed areas spend less time outdoors and reported perception of car fumes was significantly associated with recurrent colds, chronic bronchitis and an index of hyperreactive airways. Measured indices of pollution (traffic counts, NO2) were not associated with any of the children's reported illnesses.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Austria
  • Child
  • Fatigue / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population
  • Vehicle Emissions / adverse effects*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Vehicle Emissions