The air quality health index and asthma morbidity: a population-based study.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Exposure to air pollution has been linked to the exacerbation of respiratory diseases. The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), developed in Canada, is a new health risk scale for reporting air quality and advising risk reduction actions. OBJECTIVE: We used the AQHI to estimate the impact of air quality on asthma morbidity, adjusting for potential confounders. METHODS: Daily air pollutant measures were obtained from 14 regional monitoring stations in Ontario. Daily counts of asthma-attributed hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits, and outpatient visits were obtained from a provincial registry of 1.5 million patients with asthma. Poisson regression was used to estimate health services rate ratios (RRs) as a measure of association between the AQHI or individual pollutants and health services use. We adjusted for age, sex, season, year, and region of residence. RESULTS: The AQHI values were significantly associated with increased use of asthma health services on the same day and on the 2 following days, depending on the specific outcome assessed. A 1-unit increase in the AQHI was associated with a 5.6% increase in asthma outpatient visits (RR = 1.056; 95% CI: 1.053, 1.058) and a 2.1% increase in the rate of hospitalization (RR = 1.021; 95% CI: 1.014, 1.028) on the same day and with a 1.3% increase in the rate of ED visits (RR = 1.013; 95% CI: 1.010, 1.017) after a 2-day lag. CONCLUSIONS: The AQHI values were significantly associated with the use of asthma-related health services. Timely AQHI health risk advisories with integrated risk reduction messages may reduce morbidity associated with air pollution in patients with asthma.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Wildfire smoke is an important source of air pollution associated with a range of cardiopulmonary health conditions. The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is the most widely used tool in Canada to communicate with the public about air pollution, but it may not adequately reflect health risks from wildfire smoke. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of the AQHI and four alternate AQHI-Plus amendments to predict adverse population health effects from wildfire smoke. METHODS:The maximum 1-h values of the AQHI and the four amendments were calculated for each 48-h period of the wildfire seasons from 2010 to 2017 for 32 health units in British Columbia. Generalized Poisson models were used to estimate the association between these values and daily counts of five health outcomes: all-cause mortality; physician visits for all circulatory causes; visits for all respiratory causes, including asthma; asthma-specific visits; and dispensations of salbutamol sulfate (i.e., Ventolin®). Model fit was evaluated with the Akaike information criterion. RESULTS:The AQHI and the four amendments were all associated with all five health outcomes. The AQHI exhibited best fit to the all-cause mortality and circulatory physician visits during all wildfire seasons, while the 1-h PM2.5Only AQHI-Plus exhibited best fit to the asthma-related outcomes during all wildfire seasons. CONCLUSION:Individuals with common respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are particularly susceptible to wildfire smoke. As such, the 1-h PM2.5Only AQHI-Plus amendment was recommended for communicating about potential health effects of air quality during wildfire seasons in BC.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to examine the spatial variability of asthma outcomes in Ontario, Canada and broad environmental factors that contribute to this variability. Age-/sex-standardized asthma prevalence and health services use rates (2003-2013) were obtained from a provincial cohort of asthma patients. Employing an ecological-level study design, descriptive and Bayesian spatial regression analyses were used to examine patterns of asthma outcomes and their relationship to physical environment, socioeconomic environment and healthcare factors. Significant spatial variation in asthma outcomes was found between southern urban/suburban areas and northern/rural areas. Rurality was found to have a substantial effect on all asthma outcomes, except hospitalizations. For example, the most rural areas were associated with lower asthma prevalence and physician visits [RR = 0.708, 95% credible interval (CI): 0.636-0.795 and RR = 0.630, 95% CI: 0.504-0.758, respectively], and with higher ED visits (RR = 1.818, 95% CI: 1.194-2.858), when compared to urban areas. Strong associations were also found between material deprivation and ED visits (RR = 1.559, 95% CI: 1.358-1.737) and hospitalizations (RR = 1.259, 95% CI: 1.143-1.374). Associations between asthma outcomes and environmental variables such as air pollution and temperature were also found. Findings can be expected to inform the development of improved public health strategies, which take into account local environmental, socioeconomic and healthcare characteristics.
Project description:The goal of this study was to investigate the short-term effect of ambient air pollution on emergency department (ED) visits in Seoul for asthma according to patients' prior history of allergic diseases.Data on ED visits from 2005 to 2009 were obtained from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. To evaluate the risk of ED visits for asthma related to ambient air pollutants (carbon monoxide [CO], nitrogen dioxide [NO2], ozone [O3], sulfur dioxide [SO2], and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 ?m [PM10]), a generalized additive model with a Poisson distribution was used; a single-lag model and a cumulative-effect model (average concentration over the previous 1-7 days) were also explored. The percent increase and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated for each interquartile range (IQR) increment in the concentration of each air pollutant. Subgroup analyses were done by age, gender, the presence of allergic disease, and season.A total of 33 751 asthma attack cases were observed during the study period. The strongest association was a 9.6% increase (95% CI, 6.9% to 12.3%) in the risk of ED visits for asthma per IQR increase in O3 concentration. IQR changes in NO2 and PM10 concentrations were also significantly associated with ED visits in the cumulative lag 7 model. Among patients with a prior history of allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis, the risk of ED visits for asthma per IQR increase in PM10 concentration was higher (3.9%; 95% CI, 1.2% to 6.7%) than in patients with no such history.Ambient air pollutants were positively associated with ED visits for asthma, especially among subjects with a prior history of allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis.
Project description:This retrospective study was conducted to estimate the effects of climate factors and air pollution on asthma exacerbations using a case-crossover analysis.Patients who visited the emergency department (ED) of 2 university hospitals in Chuncheon for asthma exacerbations from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2011, were enrolled. Daily average data for meteorological factors (temperature, daily temperature range, relative humidity, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, presence of rain, solar irradiation, and presence of fog) and the daily average levels of gaseous air pollutants (SO?, NO?, O?, CO, and PM10) were obtained. A case-crossover analysis was performed using variables about the weather and air pollution at 1-week intervals between cases and controls before and after ED visits.There were 660 ED visits by 583 patients with asthma exacerbations. Low relative humidity (lag 1 and 2) and high wind speed (lag 1, 2, and 3) were associated with ED visits for asthma. Fog (lag 2) showed protective effects against asthma exacerbations in Chuncheon (risk increase: -29.4% [95% CI=-46.3% to -7.2%], P=0.013). These relationships were stronger in patients ?19 years old than in those >60 years old. High levels of ambient CO (lag 1, 2, and 3) and NO? (lag 2 and 3) were associated with decreased ED visits for asthma. However, there were no significant relationships among levels of ambient CO or NO? and asthma exacerbations after adjusting for wind speed and relative humidity.High wind speed and low humidity were associated with an increased risk of asthma ED visits. Fog was associated with a decreased risk of asthma ED visits after controlling for seasonal variations in weather and air pollution.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In June 2008, burning peat deposits produced haze and air pollution far in excess of National Ambient Air Quality Standards, encroaching on rural communities of eastern North Carolina. Although the association of mortality and morbidity with exposure to urban air pollution is well established, the health effects associated with exposure to wildfire emissions are less well understood. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the effects of exposure on cardiorespiratory outcomes in the population affected by the fire. METHODS: We performed a population-based study using emergency department (ED) visits reported through the syndromic surveillance program NC DETECT (North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool). We used aerosol optical depth measured by a satellite to determine a high-exposure window and distinguish counties most impacted by the dense smoke plume from surrounding referent counties. Poisson log-linear regression with a 5-day distributed lag was used to estimate changes in the cumulative relative risk (RR). RESULTS: In the exposed counties, significant increases in cumulative RR for asthma [1.65 (95% confidence interval, 1.25-2.1)], chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [1.73 (1.06-2.83)], and pneumonia and acute bronchitis [1.59 (1.07-2.34)] were observed. ED visits associated with cardiopulmonary symptoms [1.23 (1.06-1.43)] and heart failure [1.37 (1.01-1.85)] were also significantly increased. CONCLUSIONS: Satellite data and syndromic surveillance were combined to assess the health impacts of wildfire smoke in rural counties with sparse air-quality monitoring. This is the first study to demonstrate both respiratory and cardiac effects after brief exposure to peat wildfire smoke.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Emergency department (ED) visit and hospital admissions (HA) data have been an indispensible resource for assessing acute morbidity impacts of air pollution. ED visits and HAs are types of health care visits with similarities, but also potentially important differences. Little previous information is available regarding the impact of health care visit type on observed acute air pollution-health associations from studies conducted for the same location, time period, outcome definitions and model specifications. METHODS: As part of a broader study of air pollution and health in St. Louis, individual-level ED and HA data were obtained for a 6.5 year period for acute care hospitals in the eight Missouri counties of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Patient demographic characteristics and diagnostic code distributions were compared for four visit types including ED visits, HAs, HAs that came through the ED, and non-elective HAs. Time-series analyses of the relationship between daily ambient ozone and PM?.? and selected cardiorespiratory outcomes were conducted for each visit type. RESULTS: Our results indicate that, compared with ED patients, HA patients tended to be older, had evidence of greater severity for some outcomes, and had a different mix of specific outcomes. Consideration of 'HA through ED' appeared to more effectively select acute visits than consideration of 'non-elective HA'. While outcomes with the strongest observed temporal associations with air pollutants tended to show strong associations for all visit types, we found some differences in observed associations for ED visits and HAs. For example, risk ratios for the respiratory disease-ozone association were 1.020 for ED visits and 1.004 for 'HA through ED'; risk ratios for the asthma/wheeze-ozone association were 1.069 for ED visits and 1.106 for 'HA through ED'. Several factors (e.g. age) were identified that may be responsible, in part, for the differences in observed associations. CONCLUSIONS: Demographic and diagnostic differences between visit types may lead to preference for one visit type over another for some questions and populations. The strengths of observed associations with air pollutants sometimes varied between different health care visit types, but the relative strengths of association generally were specific to the pollutant-outcome combination.
Project description:A positive association between air pollution and both the incidence and prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) has been reported in some epidemiologic and animal studies, but little research has evaluated the relationship between air pollution and diabetic coma. Diabetic coma is an acute complication of DM caused by diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, which is characterized by extreme hyperglycemia accompanied by coma. We conducted a time-series study with a generalized additive model using a distributed-lag non-linear model to assess the association between ambient air pollution (particulate matter less than 10 ?m in aerodynamic diameter, nitrogen dioxide [NO2], sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone) and emergency department (ED) visits for DM with coma in Seoul, Korea from 2005 to 2009. The ED data and medical records from the 3 years previous to each diabetic coma event were obtained from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service to examine the relationship with air pollutants. Overall, the adjusted relative risks (RRs) for an interquartile range (IQR) increment of NO2 was statistically significant at lag 1 (RR, 1.125; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.039 to 1.219) in a single-lag model and both lag 0-1 (RR, 1.120; 95% CI, 1.028 to 1.219) and lag 0-3 (RR, 1.092; 95% CI, 1.005 to 1.186) in a cumulative-lag model. In a subgroup analysis, significant positive RRs were found for females for per-IQR increments of NO2 at cumulative lag 0-3 (RR, 1.149; 95% CI, 1.022 to 1.291). The results of our study suggest that ambient air pollution, specifically NO2, is associated with ED visits for diabetic coma.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Buffer analyses have shown that air pollution is associated with an increased incidence of asthma, but little is known about how air pollutants affect health outside a defined buffer. The aim of this study was to better understand how air pollutants affect asthma patient visits in a metropolitan area. The study used an integrated spatial and temporal approach that included the Kriging method and the Generalized Additive Model (GAM). RESULTS: We analyzed daily outpatient and emergency visit data from the Taiwan Bureau of National Health Insurance and air pollution data from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration during 2000-2002. In general, children (aged 0-15 years) had the highest number of total asthma visits. Seasonal changes of PM10, NO2, O3 and SO2 were evident. However, SO2 showed a positive correlation with the dew point (r = 0.17, p < 0.01) and temperature (r = 0.22, p < 0.01). Among the four pollutants studied, the elevation of NO2 concentration had the highest impact on asthma outpatient visits on the day that a 10% increase of concentration caused the asthma outpatient visit rate to increase by 0.30% (95% CI: 0.16%~0.45%) in the four pollutant model. For emergency visits, the elevation of PM10 concentration, which occurred two days before the visits, had the most significant influence on this type of patient visit with an increase of 0.14% (95% CI: 0.01%~0.28%) in the four pollutants model. The impact on the emergency visit rate was non-significant two days following exposure to the other three air pollutants. CONCLUSION: This preliminary study demonstrates the feasibility of an integrated spatial and temporal approach to assess the impact of air pollution on asthma patient visits. The results of this study provide a better understanding of the correlation of air pollution with asthma patient visits and demonstrate that NO2 and PM10 might have a positive impact on outpatient and emergency settings respectively. Future research is required to validate robust spatiotemporal patterns and trends.
Project description:In the real world, dynamic changes in air pollutants and meteorological factors coexist simultaneously. Studies identifying the effects of individual pollutants on acute exacerbation (AE) of asthma may overlook the health effects of the overall combination. A comprehensive study examining the influence of air pollution and meteorological factors is required. Asthma AE data from emergency room visits were collected from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Complete monitoring data for air pollutants (SO2; NO2; O3; CO; PM2.5; PM10) and meteorological factors were collected from the Environmental Protection Agency monitoring stations. A bi-directional case-crossover analysis was used to investigate the effects of air pollution and meteorological factors on asthma AE. Among age group divisions, a 1 °C temperature increase was a protective factor for asthma ER visits with OR = 0.981 (95% CI, 0.971-0.991) and 0.985 (95% CI, 0.975-0.994) for pediatric and adult patients, respectively. Children, especially younger females, are more susceptible to asthma AE due to the effects of outdoor air pollution than adults. Meteorological factors are important modulators for asthma AE in both asthmatic children and adults. When studying the effects of air pollution on asthma AE, meteorological factors should be considered.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Recent toxicological and epidemiological evidence suggests that chronic psychosocial stress may modify pollution effects on health. Thus, there is increasing interest in refined methods for assessing and incorporating non-chemical exposures, including social stressors, into environmental health research, towards identifying whether and how psychosocial stress interacts with chemical exposures to influence health and health disparities. We present a flexible, GIS-based approach for examining spatial patterns within and among a range of social stressors, and their spatial relationships with air pollution, across New York City, towards understanding their combined effects on health. METHODS: We identified a wide suite of administrative indicators of community-level social stressors (2008-2010), and applied simultaneous autoregressive models and factor analysis to characterize spatial correlations among social stressors, and between social stressors and air pollutants, using New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) data (2008-2009). Finally, we provide an exploratory ecologic analysis evaluating possible modification of the relationship between nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and childhood asthma Emergency Department (ED) visit rates by social stressors, to demonstrate how the methods used to assess stressor exposure (and/or consequent psychosocial stress) may alter model results. RESULTS: Administrative indicators of a range of social stressors (e.g., high crime rate, residential crowding rate) were not consistently correlated (rho?=?- 0.44 to 0.89), nor were they consistently correlated with indicators of socioeconomic position (rho?=?- 0.54 to 0.89). Factor analysis using 26 stressor indicators suggested geographically distinct patterns of social stressors, characterized by three factors: violent crime and physical disorder, crowding and poor access to resources, and noise disruption and property crimes. In an exploratory ecologic analysis, these factors were differentially associated with area-average NO2 and childhood asthma ED visits. For example, only the 'violent crime and disorder' factor was significantly associated with asthma ED visits, and only the 'crowding and resource access' factor modified the association between area-level NO2 and asthma ED visits. CONCLUSIONS: This spatial approach enabled quantification of complex spatial patterning and confounding between chemical and non-chemical exposures, and can inform study design for epidemiological studies of separate and combined effects of multiple urban exposures.