Sunday, March 19, 2006

Air Quality = Death Rate ???

Does Air Quality hold the key to Rugby death rate for the elderly?

West Midlands health experts claim the cold in Rugby kills our elderly residents,
but many leading world renowned scientists, who do not have a vested interest,
would appear to think small particles are to blame.

Particle pollution is of serious concern in Rugby.
With the emissions of smaller particles set to increase, both from the cement plant, and from the extra heavy traffic due to a complete lack of any planning by Warwickshire County Council can we expect even more deaths in Rugby?

Fine Particle Air Pollution Associated With Respiratory And Cardiovascular Diseases

Main Category: Asthma/Respiratory News
Article Date: 13 Mar 2006 - 0:00am (UK)

Being exposed to fine particle matter air pollution increases a person's risk for hospital admission for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, according to a study in the March 8 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).

Numerous studies have shown associations of chronic exposure to airborne particles and increased health risks. Recent evidence on adverse effects of particulate air pollution on public health has motivated the development of more stringent standards for levels of particulate matter in outdoor air in the United States and in other countries, according to background information in the article. In 1997, the standard for airborne particulate matter was revised, maintaining the previous indicator of particulate matter of less than or equal to 10 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) and creating a new indicator for fine particulate matter of less than or equal to 2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5). Particles in this size range have a much greater probability of reaching the small airways and the alveoli (air sacs) of the lung than do larger particles. Evidence is limited on the health risks of this size range of particulate matter.

Francesca Dominici, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a study to estimate the risk for cardiac and respiratory diseases from exposure to fine particulate air pollution. The researchers analyzed data from a national database for 1999 through 2002 on hospital admission rates (constructed from the Medicare National Claims History Files) for cardiovascular and respiratory outcomes and injuries for 11.5 million Medicare enrollees (aged 65 years or older) who lived in 204 U.S. urban counties (population greater than 200,000). The individuals lived an average of 5.9 miles from a PM2.5 monitor.

The researchers found there was a short-term increase in hospital admission rates associated with exposure to PM2.5 for all of the health outcomes except injuries. The largest association was for heart failure, which had a 1.28 percent increase in risk per 10-µg/m3 increase in same-day PM2.5. Cardiovascular risks tended to be higher in counties located in the Eastern region of the United States, which included the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, and the South.

“In the lung, particulate matter may promote inflammation and thereby exacerbate underlying lung disease and reduce the efficacy of lung-defense mechanisms. Cardiovascular effects may reflect neurogenic [arising in or stimulated by nerve tissues] and inflammatory processes,” the authors write.

“Our findings indicate an ongoing threat to the health of the elderly population from airborne particles and provide a rationale for setting a PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard that is as protective of their health as possible,” the researchers write. “The sources of particles contributing to the observed risks need to be identified so that control strategies can be targeted efficiently.” (JAMA. 2006;295:1127-1134.)

Editor's Note: For funding/support information, please see the JAMA article.

American Medical Association (AMA)
515 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610
United States

1 comment:

Lilian said...

For Particle size distribution:

Visit Rugby Borough Council Air Quality Section and see the data for 2004 and 2005 from the 4 TEOM and 19 Turnkey monitors. Unfortunately - I wonder why? - it is not made into any user-friendly tables, but we are working on that and will post our results soon.

The highest annual level of particulate in the PM10 size range recorded by the TEOM monitors (not the Turnkeys) is at the Police Station AQMS2 Newbold Road, and this was an absolutely crucial site for the monitoring of the PM2.5 particulates. But for "a very obvious reason" this was the ONLY monitor out of the 23 that did NOT have the facility to monitor the PM2.5 that are mostly related to traffic pollution at that site - as the heavy lorries and cars grind up that hill, and gridlock down it.

A prize for the correct answer:
"Why did they have no PM2.5 monitor at the most crucial site on Newbold Road?"