Effect of Wildfire Smoke on Asthma Emergency Department Visits and Acute Hospitalizations in Colorado Open Access

Alman, Breanna Leigh (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2j62s547z?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract

Effect of Wildfire Smoke on Asthma Emergency Department Visits and Acute Hospitalizations in Colorado
By Breanna Alman

In 2012, Colorado experienced one of its worst wildfire seasons of the past decade. The goal of this study is to explore the relationship of local PM2.5 levels with emergency room visits and acute hospitalizations for asthma during the Colorado wildfires of 2012 and to determine whether increased air pollution from wildfire smoke was a contributing factor. Spearman's correlation coefficient and conditional logistic regression were used to assess the relationship between PM2.5 and asthma visits from June 5th to July 6th 2012. The all- age conditional logistic regression model showed a significant positive correlation between daily number of emergency room visits and acute hospitalizations and PM2.5. Categorized PM2.5 revealed a linear increase in OR with increases in PM2.5 concentration above the referent group, <10 µg/m3 (Linear Trend Test P = 0.0012); 10-20 µg/m3 (OR 1.17 95% CI 0.877, 1.563), 20-30 µg/m3 (OR 1.559, 95% CI 1.127, 2.158), 30-40 µg/m3 (OR 1.586, 95% CI 1.047, 2.403), 40-50 µg/m3 (OR 1.937, 95% CI 1.225, 3.065), 50+ µg/m3 (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.254, 3.252). Increases in PM2.5 concentration during a wildfire period were associated with an increase in asthma visits. These results, combined with previous toxicological and epidemiological studies, provide evidence for the need for further research into the potential for adverse health effects with exposure to wildfire air pollutants. Due to climate change, in the coming decades wildfires are expected to become both more frequent and intense and thus more work is needed to ensure public health preparedness.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction...................................................................................1

A. The 2012 Colorado Wildfires.............................................................1

II. Literature Review............................................................................2

A. Wildfires and Asthma.......................................................................2

III. Methods.......................................................................................6

A. Aims and Hypotheses.......................................................................6

B. Study Design..................................................................................7

a. Data Collection................................................................................7

i. Hospitalization and Emergency Room Data...........................................7

ii. Particulate Matter and Ozone Data......................................................8

iii. Temperature Data............................................................................8

b. Data Analysis...................................................................................9

c. Exposure Estimation.........................................................................10

III. Results.........................................................................................11

IV. Discussion.....................................................................................13

A. Interpretation of Results...................................................................13

B. Potential Biases and Limitations.........................................................15

V. Conclusion.......................................................................................17

A. Summary.........................................................................................17

B. Recommendation for Future Research .................................................18

C. Recommendations for Policy Makers ....................................................19

VI. References......................................................................................20

VII. Tables and Figures...........................................................................26

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