Arctic populations are exposed to substantial levels of environmental contaminants that can negatively affect children's health and development. Moreover, emerging contaminants have never been assessed in Inuit children. In this study, we document the biological exposure to toxic metals and legacy and emerging persistent organic pollutants (POPs) of 155 Inuit children (mean age 25.2 months) attending childcare centers in Nunavik. Blood samples were analyzed to determine concentrations of mercury, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, brominated flame retardants [e.g., polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)] and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances [PFASs; e.g. perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctane (PFOA)]. Lead [geometric mean (GM) 0.08 µmol/L], PCB-153 (GM 22.2 ng/g of lipid), BDE-47 (GM 184 ng/g of lipid), PFOS (GM 3369 ng/L), and PFOA (GM 1617 ng/L) were detected in all samples. Mercury (GM 9.8 nmol/L) was detected in nearly all blood samples (97%). Levels of metals and legacy POPs are consistent with the decreasing trend observed in Nunavik and in the Arctic. PBDE levels were higher than those observed in many children and adolescents around the world but lower than those reported in some U.S. cities. PFOS were present in lower concentrations than in Nunavimmiut adults. There is a clear need for continued biomonitoring of blood contaminant levels in this population, particularly for PBDEs and PFASs.
Erratum In: Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Jul 17;46(14):7926
Studies have shown associations between higher income and better health, but income has not been studied in relation to neck pain. The aims of this cohort study were to assess the sex-specific role of disposable income for onset and prognosis of neck pain in the general population and if economic stress influences such potential associations.
Two subcohorts were identified in the Stockholm Public Health Cohort with data from 2002. Cohort I (risk cohort) included persons without neck pain (n=8348). Cohort II (prognostic cohort) included persons with occasional neck pain during the previous 6 months (n=10?523). Both cohorts were assessed for long duration troublesome neck pain (LDNP) in 2007. Individual income was defined as aggregated annual family income in 2002 with each family member assigned a weighted consumption share, based on salary, pensions and social benefits. LDNP in 2007 was defined as having had troublesome neck pain lasting for three or more consecutive months the previous 5 years. Association between income and LDNP, considering potential confounding, was investigated by multivariable logistic regression. Economic stress was tested as effect modifier between income and LDNP.
In both cohorts, associations were found between lower income and a higher risk for LDNP. The results were similar between the sexes. Economic stress modified the associations in both cohorts.
Low income may be a risk as well as prognostic factor for developing LDNP. Furthermore, the results indicate that economic stress may be an underlying factor to consider when studying associations between income and neck pain.
To describe a unique specialized seating delivery model for children with disabilities that focuses on cost containment and environmental preservation. To determine whether this delivery model achieves cost containment.
A retrospective cost analysis using data from billing records and annual statistical reports of the specialized seating program, for the 2004 to 2009 billing period.
The specialized seating program is a service provided on a referral basis by the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, which is under contract to Saskatchewan Health.
Pediatric patients (N=40) with physical disabilities (cerebral palsy, developmental delay, acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, Down syndrome, other) who were referred, assessed, and met inclusion criteria.
Relative cost (in Canadian dollars) of providing units with recycled components compared with purchasing new units.
The average cost of a used wheelchair was Can $698.11. The average cost of a new chair was $2143.69, leading to an average savings per chair of $1445.58. Of the 49 chairs issued, this resulted in a total cost savings of $85,393.97. When labor costs were taken into account ($50,060.26), the savings amounted to $35,333.71. Overall cost reduction was 41.3%.
A retrospective analysis shows evidence of cost containment. Long-term sustainability of the program requires ongoing analysis of the cost and environmental advantages of a recycling program and review of benefits provided in relation to the ability to meet patient needs. This delivery model does incorporate accountability and a policy framework, which could serve as a model for other centers.
Physical activity (MVPA) levels during home-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) remain problematic. Consequently, the present study examined the association between MVPA and urban vs. rural residential status and the perceived environment in patients attending home-based CR. A total of 280 patients completed a questionnaire assessing demographic, clinical, MVPA, and perceived environmental variables measured at baseline and 3 months later. Patient addresses were geocoded and linked to the 2006 Canadian census to establish the urban/rural distinction. Results showed that urban and rural patients had similar baseline MVPA and improvements in MVPA by 3 months. Several perceived environmental variables were significantly related to MVPA throughout home-based CR that were common and urban/rural-specific. Therefore, although there does not appear to be an urban vs. rural advantage in MVPA levels during home-based CR, there does appear to be environmental/MVPA-specific relationships specific to urban and rural patients that may warrant attention.
Fifteen polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and eighteen non-PBDEs were measured in 116 dust samples collected from homes in Vancouver, Canada during 2007-2008 as part of the Chemicals Health and Pregnancy (CHirP) study. The highest concentrations of PBDEs in house dust were observed for BDE 209, with a median concentration of 1350 ng/g. This is about two times greater than the median concentration of the PentaBDE (represented by the most abundant compounds in this formulation, SBDE 47, 99 and 100). In the case of non-PBDE FRs, a detection frequency between 81% and 100% was observed for nine analytes including: HBCD, BTBPE, BEHTBP, EHTBB, HBB, PBTO, PBBe, ATE and DP. The high detection of new FRs in indoor environments reflects their ubiquitous presence in indoor environment due to regulation of the PBDEs. Exposure to FRs are estimated based on these data for adults and toddlers.
Route environments may influence people's active commuting positively and thereby contribute to public health. Assessments of route environments are, however, needed in order to better understand the possible relationship between active commuting and the route environment. The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess the potential associations between perceptions of whether the route environment on the whole hinders or stimulates bicycle commuting and perceptions of environmental factors.
The Active Commuting Route Environment Scale (ACRES) was used for the assessment of bicycle commuters' perceptions of their route environments in the inner urban parts of Greater Stockholm, Sweden. Bicycle commuters (n = 827) were recruited by advertisements in newspapers. Simultaneous multiple regression analyses were used to assess the relation between predictor variables (such as levels of exhaust fumes, noise, traffic speed, traffic congestion and greenery) and the outcome variable (hindering - stimulating route environments). Two models were run, (Model 1) without and (Model 2) with the item traffic: unsafe or safe included as a predictor.
Overall, about 40% of the variance of hindering - stimulating route environments was explained by the environmental predictors in our models (Model 1, R2 = 0.415, and Model 2, R 2= 0.435). The regression equation for Model 1 was: y = 8.53 + 0.33 ugly or beautiful + 0.14 greenery + (-0.14) course of the route + (-0.13) exhaust fumes + (-0.09) congestion: all types of vehicles (p = 0.019). The regression equation for Model 2 was y = 6.55 + 0.31 ugly or beautiful + 0.16 traffic: unsafe or safe + (-0.13) exhaust fumes + 0.12 greenery + (-0.12) course of the route (p = 0.001).
The main results indicate that beautiful, green and safe route environments seem to be, independently of each other, stimulating factors for bicycle commuting in inner urban areas. On the other hand, exhaust fumes, traffic congestion and low 'directness' of the route seem to be hindering factors. Furthermore, the overall results illustrate the complexity of a research area at the beginning of exploration.
Measures of prenatal environmental exposures are important, and amniotic fluid levels may directly reflect fetal exposures during hypothesized windows of vulnerability.
We aimed to detect various phthalate metabolites and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in human amniotic fluid, to study temporal exposure trends, and to estimate potential associations with gestational week of amniocentesis and maternal age and parity at amniocentesis.
We studied 300 randomly selected second-trimester amniotic fluid samples from a Danish pregnancy-screening biobank covering 1980 through 1996. We used only samples from male offspring pregnancies. We assayed the environmental pollutants by liquid chromatography/triple quadrupole mass spectrometry and analyzed data using generalized linear regression models.
We detected the di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolite mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP) at a median concentration of 0.27 ng/mL [interquartile range (IQR): 0.20-0.37 ng/mL], the diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) metabolite mono(4-methyl-7-carboxyheptyl) phthalate (7cx-MMeHP) at 0.07 ng/mL (IQR: 0.05-0.11 ng/mL), and PFOS at 1.1 ng/mL (IQR: 0.66-1.60 ng/mL). An increase of 1 calendar year was associated with 3.5% lower [95% confidence interval (CI): -4.8%, -2.1%] 5cx-MEPP levels and with 7.1% higher (95% CI: 5.3%, 9.0%) 7cx-MMeHP levels. For each later gestational week of amniocentesis, 5cx-MEPP was 9.9% higher (95% CI: 4.8%, 15.2%), 7cx-MMeHP was 8.6% higher (95: CI: 2.7%, 14.9%), and PFOS was 9.4% higher (95: CI: 3.3%, 15.9%). We observed no associations with maternal age or parity.
Measured metabolite levels appeared to parallel decreasing DEHP exposure and increasing DiNP exposure during the study period. The environmental pollutant levels were positively associated with later gestational age at amniocentesis during pregnancy weeks 12-22.
Pesticide exposures and immune suppression have been independently associated with the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but their joint effect has not been well explored. Data from a case-control study of men from six Canadian provinces were used to evaluate the potential effect modification of asthma, allergies, or asthma and allergies and hay fever combined on NHL risk from use of: (i) any pesticide; (ii) any organochlorine insecticide; (iii) any organophosphate insecticide; (iv) any phenoxy herbicide; (v) selected individual pesticides [1,1'-(2,2,2-trichloroethylidene)bis[4-chlorobenzene]; 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl) ethane (DDT), malathion, (4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)acetic acid (MCPA), mecoprop, and (2,4-dichlorophenoxy)acetic acid (2,4-D); and (vi) from the number of potentially carcinogenic pesticides. Incident NHL cases (n = 513) diagnosed between 1991 and 1994 were recruited from provincial cancer registries and hospitalization records and compared to 1,506 controls. A stratified analysis was conducted to calculate odds ratios (ORs) adjusted for age, province, proxy respondent, and diesel oil exposure. Subjects with asthma, allergies, or hay fever had non-significantly elevated risks of NHL associated with use of MCPA (OR = 2.67, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.90-7.93) compared to subjects without any of these conditions (OR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.39-1.70). Conversely, those with asthma, allergies, or hay fever who reported use of malathion had lower risks of NHL (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 0.69-2.26) versus subjects with none of these conditions (OR = 2.44, 95% CI: 1.65-3.61). Similar effects were observed for asthma and allergies evaluated individually. Although there were some leads regarding effect modification by these immunologic conditions on the association between pesticide use and NHL, small numbers, measurement error and possible recall bias limit interpretation of these results.
Most previous studies of burnout have focused on work environmental stressors, while familial factors so far mainly have been overlooked. The aim of the study was to estimate the relative importance of genetic influences on burnout (measured with Pines Burnout Measure) in a sample of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) Swedish twins. The study sample consisted of 20,286 individuals, born 1959-1986 from the Swedish twin registry who participated in the cross-sectional study of twin adults: genes and environment. Probandwise concordance rates (the risk for one twin to be affected given that his/her twin partner is affected by burnout) and within pair correlations were calculated for MZ and DZ same--and opposite sexed twin pairs. Heritability coefficients i.e. the proportion of the total variance attributable to genetic factors were calculated using standard biometrical model fitting procedures. The results showed that genetic factors explained 33% of the individual differences in burnout symptoms in women and men. Environmental factors explained a substantial part of the variation as well and are thus important to address in rehabilitation and prevention efforts to combat burnout.
Cites: Annu Rev Psychol. 2001;52:397-42211148311
Cites: Twin Res Hum Genet. 2006 Dec;9(6):875-8217254424
The dose and time-pattern of sitting has been suggested in public health research to be an important determinant of risk for developing a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disorders and diabetes. The aim of the present study was to assess the time-pattern of seated and standing/walking postures amongst male and female call centre operators, on the basis of whole-shift posture recordings, analysed and described by a number of novel variables describing posture variation.
Seated vs. standing/walking was recorded using dichotomous inclinometers throughout an entire work shift for 43 male and 97 female call centre operators at 16 call centres. Data were analysed using an extensive set of variables describing occurrence of and switches between seated and standing/walking, posture similarity across the day, and compliance with standard recommendations for computer work.
The majority of the operators, both male and female, spent more than 80% of the shift in a seated posture with an average of 10.4 switches/hour between seated and standing/walking or vice versa. Females spent, on average, 11% of the day in periods of sustained sitting longer than 1 hour; males 4.6% (p = 0.013). Only 38% and 11% of the operators complied with standard recommendations of getting an uninterrupted break from seated posture of at least 5 or 10 minutes, respectively, within each hour of work. Two thirds of all investigated variables showed coefficients of variation between subjects above 0.5. Since work tasks and contractual break schedules were observed to be essentially similar across operators and across days, this indicates that sedentary behaviours differed substantially between individuals.
The extensive occurrence of uninterrupted seated work indicates that efforts should be made at call centres - and probably in other settings in the office sector - to introduce more physical variation in terms of standing/walking periods during the work day. We suggest the metrics used in this study for quantifying variation in sedentary behaviour to be of interest even for other dichotomous exposures relevant to occupational and public health, for instance physical activity/inactivity.
Cites: Occup Environ Med. 2008 Feb;65(2):126-3117681996
Cites: Occup Environ Med. 2011 Jul;68(7):502-921045214
The principle objective of the Danish research program 'Indoor Environment and Children's Health' (IECH) was to explore associations between various exposures that children experience in their indoor environments (specifically their homes and daycare centers) and their well-being and health. The targeted health endpoints were allergy, asthma, and certain respiratory symptoms. The study was designed with two stages. In the first stage, a questionnaire survey was distributed to more than 17,000 families with children between the ages of 1 and 5. The questionnaire focused on the children's health and the environments within the homes they inhabited and daycare facilities they attended. More than 11,000 questionnaires were returned. In the second stage, a subsample of 500 children was selected for more detailed studies, including an extensive set of measurements in their homes and daycare centers and a clinical examination; all clinical examinations were carried out by the same physician. In this study, the methods used for data collection within the IECH research program are presented and discussed. Furthermore, initial findings are presented regarding descriptors of the study population and selected characteristics of the children's dwellings and daycare centers.
This study outlines methods that might be followed by future investigators conducting large-scale field studies of potential connections between various indoor environmental factors and selected health endpoints. Of particular note are (i) the two-stage design - a broad questionnaire-based survey followed by a more intensive set of measurements among a subset of participants who have been selected based on their responses to the questionnaire; (ii) the case-base approach utilized in the stage 2 in contrast to the more commonly used case-control approach; (iii) the inclusion of the children's daycare environment when conducting intensive sampling to more fully capture the children's total indoor exposure; and (iv) all clinical examinations conducted by the same physician. We recognize that future investigators are unlikely to fully duplicate the methods outlined in this study, but we hope that it provides a useful starting point in terms of factors that might be considered when designing such a study.
Follow-up studies of preterm children have reported a range of cognitive deficits, particularly in executive functions, visuospatial abilities, and learning. However, few researchers have adopted a person-oriented approach, exploring individual neuropsychological profiles. The aim of this study was to identify typical neuropsychological profiles among preterm children and control children, respectively. A second aim was to investigate if neuropsychological profiles at age 5½ might be associated with perinatal medical risk factors. As part of the longitudinal Stockholm Neonatal Project, NEPSY for 4- to 7-year-old children ( Korkman, 1990 ), WPPSI-R, and Movement ABC were administered at age 5½ years to 145 preterm (mean gestational age 28 weeks) and 117 control children born at term. For the present study, the NEPSY results of each child were transformed into summary z scores for each of 5 neuropsychological domains: attention, memory, sensory-motor, verbal, and visuospatial functions. Subsequently, Ward's cluster analysis was performed for the preterm and control groups separately, identifying 5 neuropsychological profiles in both groups explaining around 56% and 57% of the variance, respectively. Overall, preterm children had lower neuropsychological results but also more diverging profiles compared to controls. The variability in outcome could not be sufficiently explained by birth weight, gestational age, or medical risks. The results suggest that prematurity interacts dynamically with genetic, medical, and environmental factors in neuropsychological development.
In contrast to asthma and rhinitis, few studies among adults investigating the prevalence and risk factors of eczema have been published.
To investigate the prevalence and risk factors of eczema among adults in West Sweden. A further aim was to study the associations between asthma, rhinitis and eczema.
A questionnaire on respiratory health was mailed in 2008 to 30,000 randomly selected subjects in West Sweden aged 16-75 years; 62% responded. The questionnaire included questions about eczema, respiratory symptoms and diseases and their possible determinants. A subgroup of 669 subjects underwent skin prick testing against common airborne allergens.
'Eczema ever' was reported by 40·7% and 'current eczema' by 11·5%. Both conditions were significantly more common among women. The prevalence decreased with increasing age. The coexistence of both asthma and rhinitis with eczema was common. The main risk factors were family history of allergy and asthma. The dominant environmental risk factor was occupational exposure to gas, dust or fumes. Smoking increased the risk. Eczema was associated with urbanization, while growing up on a farm was associated with a decreased risk. Added one by one to the multivariate model, asthma, allergic rhinitis and any positive skin prick test were associated with eczema.
Eczema among adults is a common disease with more women than men having and having had eczema. Eczema is associated with other atopic diseases and with airway symptoms. Hereditary factors and exposure to gas, dust and fumes are associated with eczema.
A substantial body of evidence indicates that regular engagement in moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week is sufficient for older adults to achieve positive health outcomes. Although there is a growing body of literature that examines the affect of neighborhood environment on physical activity in older adults, the research tends to overlook social aspects that potentially shape the relationship between physical environment and physical activity. This article presents qualitative themes related to the role of the physical and social environments in influencing physical activity among older adults as identified through the photovoice method with sixty-six older adults in eight neighborhoods in metropolitan Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Greater Portland, Oregon, USA. The photovoice data generated seven themes: being safe and feeling secure, getting there, comfort in movement, diversity of destinations, community-based programs, peer support and intergenerational/volunteer activities. Although the majority of these themes have explicit or implicit physical and social aspects, certain themes are primarily based on physical environmental aspects (e.g., safe and feeling secure, comfort in movement), while a few themes are more oriented to social context (e.g., peer support, intergenerational activity/volunteering). The themes are discussed with a focus on how the neighborhood physical and social environmental aspects interplay to foster or hinder older adults in staying active in both everyday activities and intentional physical activities. Policy implications of the findings are discussed.
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are a huge group of chemicals that have been linked to various adverse health effects in humans. Large epidemiological studies investigating gender differences in levels of POPs in the elderly are limited and the results from these are not always consistent. The present study was undertaken to examine the background levels of a broad range of POPs in human plasma samples among elderly men and women from Sweden and to assess the influence of gender. Levels of 23 POPs were determined in plasma samples collected during 2001-2004 from 1016 (50.2% women) 70year-old participants from the population-based Prospective Study of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS). Measurements were performed using high resolution gas chromatography with high resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC-HRMS) and the POPs studied were 16 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), five organochlorine (OC) pesticides, one dioxin, and one brominated flame retardant. The concentrations of the selected POPs were found similar, or comparable, to other studies of non-occupationally exposed populations from Sweden and Europe. Differences in levels of POPs between men and women were assessed by using Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test. Significant (p
The objective of this study was to estimate the mortality from cancer, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases attributable to occupational exposure in Sweden.
Estimates were calculated for men and women separately, and we considered only deaths between 25-74 years of age. We considered cancer exposures/sites classified as I or 2a according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Acute myocardial infarction was the only included cardiovascular disease. Respiratory diseases comprised chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) asthma, pneumoconiosis and alveolitis. All deaths of pneumoconiosis and alveolitis were considered work-related. Estimates were based on the Swedish mortality in 2007.
In total, we estimate that there are about 800 work-related deaths per year in the studied causes. The majority are due to acute myocardial infarction, with 126 deaths among women and 337 deaths among men attributable to job strain, shift work, exhaust gases, combustion products, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). There are 99 respiratory disease-related deaths, the vast majority from COPD (N=92). In total, 270 cancer deaths are estimated to be work-related. For men, half of the cases are attributed to asbestos exposure.
Our results indicate that preventive measures to decrease occupational mortality should consider factors associated with myocardial infarction such as job strain, shift work and exhaust gases from vehicles and combustion products. Exposures to factors associated with COPD, such as dust, also seem important to prevent.
Markers of mercury (Hg) exposure have shown both positive and negative associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed the association between serum Hg (S-Hg) and risk of cardiovascular disease in a prospective population-based cohort, with attention to the roles of dental health and fish consumption.
Total mortality, as well as morbidity and mortality from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke, was followed up for 32 years in 1,391 women (initially age 38-60), in relation to S-Hg at baseline, using Cox regression models. Potential confounders (age, socioeconomic status, serum lipids, alcohol consumption, dental health, smoking, hypertension, waist-hip ratio, and diabetes) and other covariates (e.g., fish consumption) were also considered.
Hazard ratios (HR) adjusted only for age showed strong inverse associations between baseline S-Hg and total mortality [highest quartile: hazard ratio (HR) 0.76; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.59-0.97], incident AMI (HR 0.56; CI 0.34-0.93), and fatal AMI (HR 0.31; CI 0.15-0.66). Adjustment for potential confounding factors, especially dental health, had a strong impact on the risk estimates, and after adjustment, only the reduced risk of fatal AMI remained statistically significant.
There was a strong inverse association between Hg exposure and CVD. Likely, reasons are confounding with good dental health (also correlated with the number of amalgam fillings in these age groups) and/or fish consumption. The results suggest potential effects of dental health and/or fish consumption on CVD that deserve attention in preventive medicine.
We investigated genetic and environmental influences common to adolescent externalizing behavior (at age 12), smoking (at age 14) and initiation of drug use (at age 17) using the FinnTwin12 cohort data. Multivariate Cholesky models were fit to data from 737 monozygotic and 722 dizygotic twin pairs. Heritability of externalizing behavior was 56%, that of smoking initiation/amount 20/32%, and initiation of drug use 27%. In the best-fitting model common environmental influences explained most of the covariance between externalizing behavior and smoking initiation (69%) and amount (77%). Covariance between smoking initiation/amount and drug use was due to additive genetic (42/22%) and common environmental (58/78%) influences. Half of the covariance between externalizing behavior and drug use was due to shared genetic and half due to the environments shared by co-twins. Using a longitudinal, prospective design, our results indicate that early observed externalizing behavior provides significant underlying genetic and environmental influences common to later substance use, here manifested as initiation of drug use in late adolescence.
It is often taken for granted that an ageing population will lead to an increased burden for the health care sector. However, for several diseases of big public health impact the rates have actually come down for a substantial period of time. In this study we investigate how much the incidence rates for myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and cancer will have to decline in order to counterbalance future demographic changes (changes in population size and age structure) and compare these figures with observed historical trends. Information on incidence rates were obtained from the National Board of Health and Welfare and referred to the total Swedish population. Population projections were obtained from Statistics Sweden. We projected the number of MI events to increase 50-60% between 2010 and 2050. The decline in incidence rates that is required to keep the number of events constant over time is, on average, 1.2%/year for men and 0.9%/year for women, somewhat higher than the trend for the past 10 years. For stroke the corresponding figures were 1.3% (men) and 1% (women), well in line with historical trends. For cancer the results indicate an increasing number of events in the future. Population ageing is more important than population growth when projecting future number of MI, stroke and cancer events. The required changes in incidence rates in order to counterbalance the demographic changes are well in line with historical figures for stroke, almost in line regarding MI, but not in line regarding cancer. For diseases with age dependence similar to these diseases, a reduction of incidence rates in the order of 1-2% is sufficient to offset the challenges of the ageing population. These are changes that have been observed for several diseases indicating that the challenges posed by the ageing population may not be as severe as they may seem when considering the demographic component alone.
The city of Windsor is recognized to have poor air quality in comparison with other Canadian cities. However, relatively few studies have evaluated associations between day-to-day fluctuations in air pollution levels and respiratory health in Windsor. In this study, we examined associations between short-term changes in ambient air pollution and emergency department (ED) visits for asthma in Windsor.
A time-stratified case-crossover design was applied to 3,728 ED visits for asthma that occurred in Windsor area hospitals between 2002 and 2009. Daily air pollution levels for the region were estimated using Environment Canada's network of fixed-site monitors. ED visits were identified through the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS). Odds ratios and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals were estimated using conditional logistic regression, and were adjusted for the confounding influence of daily number of influenza ED visits and weather variables using natural spline functions.
Statistically significant associations were observed between ambient air pollution levels and ED visits for asthma in Windsor. Effects were particularly pronounced among children 2 to 14 years of age between April and September. Namely, increases in the interquartile range with 1-day lagged exposure to SO2, NO2 and CO levels were associated with increased risks of an asthma visit of 19%, 25% and 36%, respectively.
Exposure in Windsor to ambient air pollution increases the risk of ED visits for asthma, particularly among children.