Online Program

Examination of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in Chester & Norristown, PA and the Prevalence of Asthma: Development of a Fact Sheet with Community Recommendations

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christe Fraser, MPH, Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Upper Marlboro, MD
background: Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been associated with asthma exacerbation and increased asthma hospitalizations. Chester, PA (19013) has been designated as an area of non-attainment for PM2.5, by the U.S. EPA based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5. Chester has a history of environmental justice issues and bears the stress of several sources that negatively impact the air quality, influencing the health of its residents.


objectives: To identify concentration levels of Particulate Matter 2.5 μg/m3 (PM2.5) in the cities of Chester and Norristown, PA and to examine its contribution to asthma burden of community residents in these areas.


methods: Levels of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) data collected from continuous air monitors in Chester and Norristown, PA were obtained from a publicly accessible air quality database provided by the EPA. Data analysis and comparison of seasonal PM2.5 data from 2009 to 2012 in Chester and Norristown were used to further examine the relationship between the presence of PM2.5 and asthma prevalence.

results: Seasonal PM2.5 levels of interest in Chester include peaks at 15.23 μg/m3 (Summer 2010), 14.47 μg/m3 (Winter 2010), 13.36 μg/m3 (Summer 2011), 12.67 μg/m3 (Winter 2011), 14.74 μg/m3 (Summer 2012), and 15.21 μg/m3 (Fall 2012).


conclusions: Chester consistently shows higher PM2.5 concentration levels than the city of comparison, Norristown. Many of the PM2.5 levels in Chester are approaching or exceeding the annual NAAQS of 12 μg/m3 (primary) and 15 μg/m3 (secondary). Recommendations will benefit the community to support in reduction of PM2.5 levels.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Analyze and compare PM 2.5 data in Chester with Norristown and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) guidelines set by the EPA.

Keyword(s): Advocacy, Air Pollution & Respiratory Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have thoroughly researched the material for this presentation, which served as my Master's Thesis. I completed this project under the direction of faculty from Drexel University School of Public Health and personnel at the U.S. EPA, Region III. I am interested to use the information from this research to serve as an advocacy tool for the community and to spark interest for further research.
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.