Study: Asthma-Related ED Visits Correlate With Higher Pollution Levels
The number of asthma-related emergency department visits in the San Joaquin Valley corresponds to rises in air pollution, according to a study by the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
The study was funded by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Schmitt, Bakersfield Californian, 10/18).
The study examined how changes in air quality affect the use of hospitals and EDs in the region's most populous areas in Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto (Central Valley Business Times, 10/18).
The report found that children with asthma make an estimated 1,596 extra hospital visits annually as a result of elevated levelsÂ of fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5. An extra 217 trips were made because of high ozone levels (Bakersfield Californian, 10/18).
As levels of PM 2.5 rose, the study found that children also had increased use of hospital EDs for pneumonia and that adults were more likely to be hospitalized for asthma and heart attacks (Central Valley Business Times, 10/18).
Researchers also found a correlation between ED visits and pollution that began when levels reached 20 to 30 micrograms per cubic meter -- a level below the national fine particulate matterÂ standard of 35 (Bakersfield Californian, 10/18).
Tim Tyner -- co-author of the report and associate director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at UCSF-Fresno -- said "children in particular face increasing risks for asthma exacerbations severe enough to seek care in the [ED] with increasing PM 2.5."
Tyner added that children with asthma in the region are more likely to visit the ED even when air quality is rated as being moderate (Central Valley Business Times, 10/18).
The institute plans to conduct follow-up studies (KSEE 24 News, 10/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.