BackgroundEpidemiology studies have shown that ambient concentrations of ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are associated with increased emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admissions (HAs) for asthma.
ObjectiveEvaluate the impact of outdoor pollen, respiratory infections, and socioeconomic status (SES) on the associations between ambient ozone and PM2.5 and asthma HAs in New York City.
MethodsDaily ozone, PM2.5, meteorological factors, pollen, and hospitalization records during 1999 to 2009 were obtained for New York City residents. Daily counts of HAs for asthma and respiratory infections were calculated for all-age and specific age groups, and for high- and low-SES communities. Generalized additive models were used to examine ambient concentrations of ozone and PM2.5 and asthma HAs, potential confounding effects of outdoor pollen and HAs for respiratory infections, and potential effect modification by neighborhood SES.
ResultsBoth ozone and PM2.5 were statistically significantly associated with increased asthma HAs in children aged 6-18 years (per 10 ppb increase in ozone: RR = 1.0203, 95% CI: 1.0028-1.0382; per 10 ?g/m3 increase in PM2.5: RR = 1.0218, 95% CI: 1.0007-1.0434), but not with total asthma HAs, or asthma HAs in other age groups. These associations were stronger for children living in the high-SES areas. Adjustment for respiratory infection HAs at various lags did not result in changes greater than 10% in the risk estimates for either ozone or PM2.5. In contrast, adjustment for outdoor pollen generally attenuated the estimated RRs for both ozone and PM2.5.
ConclusionsAmbient ozone and PM2.5 are associated with asthma HAs in school-age children, and these associations are not modified by SES. HAs for respiratory infections do not appear to be a confounder for observed ozone- and PM2.5-asthma HAs associations, but pollen may be a weak confounder.
SUBMITTER: Goodman JE