244440 A Community-Based Anti-Idling Campaign to Reduce Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollutants at Schools

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kenneth Sharkey, MPH, RS , Health Department/ General Environmental, City of Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati, OH
Cynthia Eghbalnia, MPH, CIH , Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH
Denisha Garland , Health Promotions and Worksite Wellness, City of Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati, OH
Mohammad Alam, PhD, MSc, MS, RS, REHS , Health Department, Health Sevices Unit, City of Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati, OH
Patrick Ryan, PhD , Department of Environmental Health Division of Epidemology and Biostatistics, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Rationale: Traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) has been shown to exacerbate existing asthma, though its impact in school settings is unknown. Prior anti-idling campaigns have been conducted without measures of environmental or health impact. Objective: The overarching goal of this project is to decrease children's exposure to TRAP at schools to reduce asthma morbidity. A community-driven anti-idling campaign was developed and implemented including a training program for the bus drivers and parents. The objective of this report is to determine the effectiveness of the anti idling education intervention. Methods: The anti-idling intervention educated the school bus drivers, students, parents and school staff on the impact of TRAP. An educational program was developed and presented to the school bus drivers during their annual training. The driver training utilized a video, power point presentation, pledge and pre and post tests. Assemblies on air pollution and anti-idling were presented at each school to educate teachers and students. Students were given pledge cards for parents to complete and incentives were provided to classrooms with the best return rate at each school. A video library was also established for other organizations to view and utilize. Results: In total, 397 drivers completed the educational program and made a pledge to reduce idling. Pre and post test results were available for 324 drivers. The average driver test score significantly increased from 7.3/10 to 8.5/10 following the educational program (p < 0.05). In addition, greater than 30% of the anti idling pledge cards sent home for the parents were returned. Conclusions: The intervention for the bus drivers demonstrates that the driver's knowledge of idling improved. Further assessment of the impact of the anti-idling campaign will include ambient air sampling and health assessments, including spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide, and respiratory health questionnaires, on asthmatic children attending each participating school.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
The researchers measured the level of air particulates in the community and at each school prior to and after the Cincinnati anti-idling campaign and educational intervention. The school bus drivers, students, parents and school staff were educated on the impact of idling vehicles on their health and how they can mitigate it. Pre and post tests were given to the school bus drivers and parents. Test results demonstrate that the training improved their understanding of asthma relationship with air pollution. The effectiveness of the training will be evaluated by correlating the pre and post air particulate measurements for the community and school.

Keywords: Asthma, Air Pollutants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Registered Sanitarian and have been engaged with school environmental health inspections for the last 20 years and coordinated the edcuational intervention for this grant.
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.