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Why we're concerned

Traffic-related air pollution (TRAP)

Traffic-related air pollution is a serious threat to the health of Canadians.

Speaking up for change

Read about what the Canadian Lung Association is doing about this serious threat to the health of everyone living in Canada. 

CLA's advocacy and government relations work

High-traffic roadways are associated with a higher risk of exposure to TRAP

Health Canada estimates that every year in Canada, TRAP contributes to:

  • 1,200 premature deaths
  • 210,000 asthma symptom days
  • 2.7 million acute respiratory symptom days

The 4 in 10 Canadians living within 250m of a high-traffic roadway are at greater risk of adverse health effects.


Canadians in the lowest income quintile are 6.14 times more likely to live within 250m of a high-traffic roadway than Canadians in the highest income quintile.

Children are particularly vulnerable to TRAP, especially diesel exhaust.

48% of schools in Canada are located within 200m of a high-traffic roadway.

2.2 million Canadian children travel on school buses every day — 70% of these buses are diesel fueled.

What's so bad about diesel exhaust?

The primary components of diesel particulate matter include elemental carbon, organic compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), sulfate, nitrate and many other trace metals.

Most diesel exhaust particles are tiny enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs.


Health Canada estimates that each year, on-road diesel emissions are responsible for:

  • 880,000 acute respiratory symptom days
  • 62,000 asthma symptom days
  • 1,500 childhood bronchitis episodes
  • 490,000 restricted activity days

Exposure to diesel exhaust has been linked to serious health issues

  • Irritation of the lungs and throat, wheezing, coughing
  • Reduced lung function
  • Worsening allergy symptoms
  • Worsening asthma symptoms
  • Impaired cardiac function
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer

In pregnant women

  • Increased infant mortality
  • Reduced fetal growth
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth

In children

  • Development and worsening of asthma symptoms
  • Behavioural and neurological problems
  • Lower cognitive functioning
  • Childhood leukemia


Interested in zero-emission medium- or heavy-duty vehicles?

See Clean Energy Canada's Canadian Model Availability Catalogue