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Problem Globally, outdoor air pollution causes more than 3.7 million premature deaths each year

GRAMM Barrier Systems - Exclusive European Partner for SmogStop

Burning gasoline or diesel fuel creates a slew of pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to smog, other VOCs that are linked to cancer, and small particulates that penetrate deep into the lungs.

These problems are particularly serious in the developing world. But even countries with strict pollution controls face sobering statistics. In the United States, for example, more than 58,000 people die prematurely each year because of traffic emissions.

Car Exhaust
Air pollution, Child breathing difficulties UK

Local health impacts

Nearby residents suffer the greatest health consequences. According to a Vancouver study, people who live within 150 metres of a highway or within 50 metres of a major road are 29 per cent more likely to die from coronary heart disease.

The dangers don’t stop there, however. Traffic-related air pollution is also linked to stroke, cancer, asthma and other respiratory problems. Children, infants and unborn babies are particularly vulnerable because their lungs aren’t fully developed. Meanwhile, Spanish researchers found that students in elementary schools located within 500 metres of a major roadway or highway had slower cognitive development.

Regional health impacts

Nor are the impacts strictly local. On hot, sunny days, NOX and VOCs can undergo a series of chemical reactions. The result is smog that can blanket the entire region in pollution or get blown hundreds of kilometres, creating health impacts far from its original source.

Smoggy days lead to thousands of premature deaths, overload emergency rooms and make it dangerous for even healthy people to exercise outdoors. In Ontario, 5,940 people died prematurely because of smog in 2006. In many other countries, the toll is even higher. In Beijing, for example, breathing the smog-filled air creates the same health risks as smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

traffic pollution

The trillion-dollar price tag

According to a 2016 World Bank report, air pollution costs $3.55 trillion in premature deaths each year. That figure doesn’t include the costs of pollution-related illness: doctor visits, emergency room admissions, lost wages and more.

Traffic is a major contributor to the problem. An OECD report suggests that road transportation accounts for roughly half of the health costs created by air pollution in member countries. In China, traffic emissions is one of the biggest causes of deaths due to air pollution, second only to industrial coal.

The good news is that reducing pollution saves lives — and money. A 2016 study estimates that each ton of NOX removed in the city of Toronto would create $650,000 in health benefits.

SmogStop, Air Pollution Barrier

SmogStop Barrier reduces air and noise pollution levels in surrounding neighbourhoods, and takes a two-pronged approach to reducing air pollution from major roads, highways and railways.

Our patented aerodynamic design reduces pollution levels by enhancing dispersion so that neighbouring residents can breathe easier. At the same time, a proprietary coating on the barrier actually breaks down the NOx and VOCs that produce smog, transforming them into harmless byproducts.

And yes, it also blocks traffic noise.

BOTTOM-LINE BENEFITS: Reducing air pollution saves lives - and money

A single kilometre of roadside SmogStop barrier can create up to £6 million ($10.4m) in benefits each year


GRAMM is the UK leading specialist in the design, supply & installation of environmental acoustic barriers with 30 years of experience.

GRAMM are founder members of ENBA (Environmental Noise Barrier Association), AFI (Association of Fencing Industries) and EFIA (European Fencing Industry Association).

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