Little attention has been devoted to the effects on children's respiratory health of exposure to sulphur dioxide (SO2) in ambient air from local industrial emissions. Most studies on the effects of SO(2) have assessed its impact as part of the regional ambient air pollutant mix.
To examine the association between exposure to stack emissions of SO(2) from petroleum refineries located in Montreal's (Quebec) east-end industrial complex and the prevalence of active asthma and poor asthma control among children living nearby.
The present cross-sectional study used data from a respiratory health survey of Montreal children six months to 12 years of age conducted in 2006. Of 7964 eligible households that completed the survey, 842 children between six months and 12 years of age lived in an area impacted by refinery emissions. Ambient SO(2) exposure levels were estimated using dispersion modelling. Log-binomial regression models were used to estimate crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% CIs for the association between yearly school and residential SO(2) exposure estimates and asthma outcomes. Adjustments were made for child's age, sex, parental history of atopy and tobacco smoke exposure at home.
The adjusted PR for the association between active asthma and SO(2) levels was 1.14 (95% CI 0.94 to 1.39) per interquartile range increase in modelled annual SO(2). The effect on poor asthma control was greater (PR=1.39 per interquartile range increase in modelled SO(2) [95% CI 1.00 to 1.94]).
Results of the present study suggest a relationship between exposure to refinery stack emissions of SO(2) and the prevalence of active and poor asthma control in children who live and attend school in proximity to refineries.
Home environmental exposures may aggravate asthma. Few population-based studies have investigated the relationship between asthma control in children and home environmental exposures.
Identify home environmental exposures associated with poor control of asthma among asthmatic children less than 12 years of age in Montreal (Quebec, Canada).
This cross-sectional population-based study used data from a respiratory health survey of Montreal children aged 6 months to 12 years conducted in 2006 (n = 7980). Asthma control was assessed (n = 980) using an adaptation of the Canadian asthma consensus report clinical parameters. Using log-binomial regression models, prevalence ratios (PRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated to explore the relationship between inadequate control of asthma and environmental home exposures, including allergens, irritants, mold, and dampness indicators. Subjects with acceptable asthma control were compared with those with inadequate disease control.
Of 980 children with active asthma in the year prior to the survey, 36% met at least one of the five criteria as to poor control of their disease. The population's characteristics found to be related with a lack of asthma control were younger age, history of parental atopy, low maternal education level, foreign-born mothers, and tenant occupancy. After adjustments, children living along high-traffic density streets (PR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.00-1.81) and those with their bedroom or residence at the basement level (PR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.01-1.66) were found to be at increased risk of poor asthma control.
Suboptimal asthma control appears to be mostly associated with traffic, along with mold and moisture conditions, the latter being a more frequent exposure and therefore having a greater public health impact.
Environmental factors associated with winter outdoor falls are poorly understood. This study describes the demographic, spatial and temporal distribution of outdoor falls that occurred in Laval and Montréal Island (Canada) in relation to meteorological conditions.
Data on falls, including geographic coordinates, were obtained from ambulance services (December 1, 2008 to january 31, 2009). Meteorological (temperature, precipitation levels) and land use data were used for descriptive analysis and mapping.
During the study period, 3270 falls required ambulance interventions, of which 960 occurred outdoors. Most people injured outdoors were under 65 years of age (59%). Mapping showed a concentration of outdoor falls in central neighbourhoods and on commercial streets in Montreal. Three episodes of excess falls, representing 47% of all outdoor falls, were preceded by rain and followed by falling temperatures, or were concomitant with freezing rain.
Our results demonstrate for the first time the distribution of outdoor falls in a densely populated urban setting with a northern climate. To promote active transportation, it is essential to take into account the safety of pedestrian travel. Snow removal and de-icing operations in municipalities should prioritize areas with high pedestrian activity.
Estimate the number of awakenings additional to spontaneous awakenings, induced by the nighttime aircraft movements at an international airport in Montreal, in the population residing nearby in 2009.
Maximum sound levels (LAS,max) were derived from aircraft movements using the Integrated Noise Model 7.0b, on a 28 x 28 km grid centred on the airport and with a 0.1 x 0.1 km resolution. Outdoor LAS,max were converted to indoor LAS,max by reducing noise levels by 15 dB(A) or 21 dB(A). For all grid points, LAS,max were transformed into probabilities of additional awakening using a function developed by Basner et al. (2006). The probabilities of additional awakening were linked to estimated numbers of exposed residents for each grid location to assess the number of aircraft-noise-induced awakenings in Montreal.
Using a 15 dB(A) sound attenuation, 590 persons would, on average, have one or more additional awakenings per night for the year 2009. In the scenario using a 21 dB(A) sound attenuation, on average, no one would be subjected to one or more additional awakenings per night due to aircraft noise.
Using the 2009 flight patterns, our data suggest that a small number of Montreal residents are exposed to noise levels that could induce one or more awakenings additional to spontaneous awakenings per night.
Comment In: Can J Public Health. 2013 May-Jun;104(3):e27523823900
Comment In: Can J Public Health. 2013 May-Jun;104(3):e27623823901
Little is known about the respiratory effects of short-term exposures to petroleum refinery emissions in young children. This study is an extension of an ecologic study that found an increased rate of hospitalizations for respiratory conditions among children living near petroleum refineries in Montreal (Canada).
We used a time-stratified case-crossover design to assess the risk of asthma episodes in relation to short-term variations in sulfur dioxide levels among children 2-4 years of age living within 0.5-7.5 km of the refinery stacks. Health data used to measure asthma episodes included emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admissions from 1996 to 2004. We estimated daily levels of SO2 at the residence of children using a) two fixed-site SO2 monitors located near the refineries and b) the AERMOD (American Meteorological Society/Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Model) atmospheric dispersion model. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratios associated with an increase in the interquartile range of daily SO2 mean and peak exposures (31.2 ppb for AERMOD peaks). We adjusted for temperature, relative humidity, and regional/urban background air pollutant levels.
The risks of asthma ED visits and hospitalizations were more pronounced for same-day (lag 0) SO2 peak levels than for mean levels on the same day, or for other lags: the adjusted odds ratios estimated for same-day SO2 peak levels from AERMOD were 1.10 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.00-1.22] and 1.42 (95% CI, 1.10-1.82), over the interquartile range, for ED visits and hospital admissions, respectively.
Short-term episodes of increased SO2 exposures from refinery stack emissions were associated with a higher number of asthma episodes in nearby children.
Cites: Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Apr;86(4):456-6011345292
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Exposure to traffic-related air pollutants plays a role in several health outcomes. A large body of evidence tends to link asthma in children with traffic exposure. Increasing asthma prevalence and incidence in children in Canadian cities has been of concern for public health authorities. The following study focuses on estimating the risk of asthma prevalence attributable to residing in proximity to major roads on the Island of Montreal, Canada.
Risk functions pertaining to asthma in children and residential proximity to major roads were selected from the literature and applied to Montreal. Asthma prevalence was taken from population-based studies. Population data were retrieved from Canadian census. Exposure was estimated using the proximity to major road and highway category of the Desktop Mapping Technologies Inc. database (DMTI Spatial Inc.).
Based on different studies, the percentage of prevalent asthma cases attributable to residing within 50 metres of a major road or highway for children aged 2, 4 and 6 years varied between 2.4% (0-4.3), 5.6% (0.1-8.6) and 5.9% (0.1-9.0). For the 5-7 year age group residing within 75 m of a major road or highway, the percent of cases was 6.4% (2.6-9.3). For children aged 8 to 10 residing within 75 m of a highway only, the percent of cases was 0.7% (0.2-0.9).
These numbers represent the best crude estimates and are an indication of a possible range of cases linked to residential proximity to major roads. As there are uncertainties linked to the application of exposure-response functions, these estimates will be reassessed as new evidence is gathered through further research.