A national county-level assessment of U.S. nursing facility characteristics associated with long-term exposure to traffic pollution in older adults

​Yi  ​Wang, Hao Fan, Aniruddha Banerjee, Anne M. Weaver, Michael Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution increases disease risk in older adults. Nursing facilities located near major roadways potentially expose older adults to traffic pollution. No studies, however, have described the association between nursing facilities and traffic pollution. We obtained data on facility- and census-tract-level characteristics of 15,706 U.S. facilities from the Medicare Nursing Home Compare datasets. We calculated distance to major roadways and traffic density for each facility. In the contiguous U.S. (as of 2014), 345,792 older adults, about 27% of residents in non-hospital facilities, lived within 150 m major roadways (A1 or A2) in 3876 (28% of sampled) facilities. Nationally, for-profit facilities, high-occupancy facilities, and facilities in census tracts with higher percentages of minorities were more likely to have higher exposure to traffic. Counties in Virginia, New York City, and Rhode Island have the highest percent of residents and facilities near major roads. Nationally, over one-quarter of sampled facilities are located near major roadways. Attributes potentially associated with higher exposure to traffic included “for-profit” and “higher minority census tract”. Proximity to major roadways may be an important factor to consider in siting nursing facilities. Our results inform potential intervention strategy at both county and facility level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number487
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 10 2018



  • Indoor air
  • Minority
  • Nursing home
  • Occupancy
  • Profit
  • Traffic pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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