Reducing Infant Hearing Loss With E-ZPass? When cars can drive right through toll plazas with E-ZPass—rather than stopping to pay the toll, idling and starting up again—pollution in the area around the toll plaza decreases. And according to a MacArthur Foundation study, decreased pollution is associated with fewer preterm births and, therefore, lower rates of hearing ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   July 01, 2014
Reducing Infant Hearing Loss With E-ZPass?
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   July 01, 2014
Reducing Infant Hearing Loss With E-ZPass?
The ASHA Leader, July 2014, Vol. 19, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB6.19072014.10
The ASHA Leader, July 2014, Vol. 19, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB6.19072014.10
When cars can drive right through toll plazas with E-ZPass—rather than stopping to pay the toll, idling and starting up again—pollution in the area around the toll plaza decreases. And according to a MacArthur Foundation study, decreased pollution is associated with fewer preterm births and, therefore, lower rates of hearing loss and other debilitating and permanent health conditions related to prematurity.
The study found that:
  • After E-ZPass was installed, reducing pollution, low birth weight and premature births were reduced significantly among mothers within 2 kilometers of a toll plaza—by 10.8 percent and 11.8 percent respectively—relative to mothers living 2 to 10 kilometers from a toll plaza.

  • Among the roughly 30,000 births to mothers living within 2 kilometers of a toll plaza, an estimated 255 premature births and 275 low birth weight births were averted by the reduced pollution.

  • Reducing prenatal exposure to the pollutants from congestion could reduce preterm births by as many as 8,600 annually, for a cost savings of at least $444 million per year.

The study, part of the MacArthur Foundation’s “How Housing Matters” initiative, looked at the effects of an E-ZPass tolling program installed on roads in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In one location within the study area, nitrogen oxide fell by 11 percent after the implementation of E-ZPass.
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July 2014
Volume 19, Issue 7