India | Report reveals respiratory health burden of traffic police in Chennai

The workplace of Traffic Police Personnel – the public streets – are highly polluted with various sources such as vehicular emissions, road dust, residential and commercial construction, industries, dump yards, etc. Thus, they are vulnerable to long term and continuous exposure to pollutants. Assessing their respiratory health will speak volumes about the brunt of air pollution that they are exposed to. In this context, Huma Lung Foundation, a member of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals and Doctors For Clean Air, conducted the radiographic screening for the Traffic Police Personnel in Chennai City. The report was developed in collaboration with Healthy Energy Initiative (India).

The findings of the study suggest that long-term exposure to air pollution among the traffic police personnel from both vehicular and other sources could cause chronic respiratory tract irritation and increased mucus production. These can be manifested as radiolucent findings in the radiographic examination. Health effects from exposure to air pollution should be addressed in the initial stages in order to avoid chronic disabilities and deprived quality of life among the traffic police personnel.


The following are recommendations that can be adopted to reduce the adverse health effects among the traffic police personnel:

  1. Police personnel should be provided with N-95 masks that they must use during the duty hours.
  2. There should be duty rotation of their postings in regular frequency to avoid continuous high exposures in heavily polluted areas by the same individuals.
  3. Traffic personnel should be provided with regular medical screening facilities and appropriate subsidized treatment and medical assistance.
  4. Regular advisories on air pollution and health, including daily air quality levels in various regions of the city should be provided to everyone so that people can take adequate precautions in case of bad air days.
  5. The government should work towards the implementation of vehicular emission norms, regular monitoring of vehicles for pollution checks and impose fines upon the violators.
  6. The city administration should encourage use of public transport over private vehicles.
  7. Sources of industrial pollution should be regularly monitored and preventive action should be taken if they are found violating the air pollution norms.
  8. The pollution levels must be brought below the permissible limits before any further industrial/vehicular activities expansion.


Read the report: “Air pollution and Respiratory Health of Traffic Police Personnel, Chennai City

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