Transit Alternatives to Mid-County Highway Extended

M-83 is High Risk for Watkins Mill Elementary School Children

Getting Air Standards Prioritized (G.A.S.P.) is an ad-hoc study group formed to evaluate M-83 proposals.  This commentary is limited to the risk of M-83 aggravating respiratory problems among WMES students, setting aside the separate important consideration of risks to residents residing in nearby homes, school staff, faculty and sports organizations that use the ball fields.  The study cites statements and conclusions found from studies published in peer-reviewed medical and public health journals evaluating the causal relationship between auto air emmisions and aggravation of respiratory illness among children.

The proposed M-83 right-of-way would come within:

  • 50 ft. of the WMES ball field
  • 320 ft. of the closest portable classroom
  • 430 ft. from the brick-and-mortar school building

Pollution and Children’s Lung Development:

  • Children’s asthma is known to be exacerbated by air pollution emitted by traffic.
  • The closer the traffic is to children, the greater the air pollution exposure and risk for cancer and respiratory disease.
  • Children’s lung function decreases as higher doses to air pollution increases.
  • Hazards of airborne pollutants would elevate the risks of respiratory problems for WMES children.
  • In Montgomery County, the estimated number of asthma cases amoung children through age 12 increased 56% between 1999 – 2001.

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