203023 Relationship between vehicular traffic near elementary schools and rates of asthma in children attending those schools

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:30 AM

Penny Liberatos, PhD , School of Health Sciences & Practice, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Alexi Chapman , Pelham Memorial High School, Pelham, NY
Douglass S. Chapman, MS , Pfizer, Inc., New York, NY
Frank Baker, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, New York Medical College School of Health Sciences & Practice, Valhalla, NY
Study Purpose and Questions: Exposure to vehicle and truck air pollution is a known trigger for childhood asthma. Residential exposure to traffic has previously been related to asthma hospitalization rates. Since children ages 5-14 spend a substantial portion of waking time in school, this study sought to assess the relationship between exposure of elementary schools to traffic-related air pollution and rates of asthma and asthma hospitalizations.

Methods: Annual average daily traffic counts (AADTs) were obtained for roads in Westchester County, NY. Using GIS software, 200m and 500m buffers were created around all 60 elementary schools in the county's school districts with the highest asthma hospitalization rates (top quartile, 7 school districts). The AADTs and the lengths of road segments in buffers around each school were used to derive vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and heavy vehicle miles travelled (HVMT). These measures were compared for school districts with higher and lower asthma hospitalization rates (within the top quartile) and to nurse-reported number of children with asthma in each school.

Results: Mean VMT and HVMT in 200m and HVMT in 500m buffers were significantly higher for school districts with higher hospitalization rates as compared to those with lower rates. A similar analysis relating VMT and HVMT to number of children with asthma by school is currently underway.

Conclusions: Concerns regarding residential exposure to vehicle traffic should be extended to schools as well since children spend a substantial portion of their day in school.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the 3 major components of vehicle and truck air pollution. 2) Explain the difference between VMT and HVMT. 3) Describe the relationship between exposure to vehicular air pollution and rates for asthma and asthma hospitalizations.

Keywords: Air Pollutants, Asthma

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized and directed the project. I will also be mainly responsible for preparing the presentation/poster.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.