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The association between lung function and cumulative exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) and traffic related exposures

Parikh, Anjani (2015) The association between lung function and cumulative exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) and traffic related exposures. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction of Literature: Air pollution has been related to acute and chronic respiratory health effects in asthmatics for a number of years. These chronic exposures to high levels of traffic density and particulate matter (PM 2.5) lead to significant decrements in lung function. Historically, the city of Pittsburgh has been known to have high levels of air pollution, (6th Highest per American Lung Association) – but little to no analysis has been done on this population to document the respiratory health impact of traffic density levels and particulate matter exposure.
Methods: The sample population of this study was comprised of Registry Participants from The Asthma Institute at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Patients that have had lung function tests recorded by the Asthma Institute, and also live at residences that were able to be geocoded by the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health were included in the final analysis (n= 452). We used the LUR to create a spatial smoothed surface of PM concentrations across the area, then averaged, for each residence, the 100-m cell centroid predictions from this surface that fell within 300-m of each home. Regulatory data was used to adjust these measures to estimate PM at each location for the month prior to lung function testing. We used linear regression analysis to determine: A) the linear relationship between exposures and lung function tests; and B) the association between exposures with road density exposures and their respective quartiles. We adjusted for race, age, and sex as confounders.
Limitations: There are some expected limitations to the findings of this study. First, because this is a cross-sectional study, we cannot assume any causation. Additionally, exposures to PM and traffic density are roughly estimated through GIS which may contain errors, and there are no indoor exposure readings available. Moreover, single measurements of lung function tests provide only a snapshot of asthma severity at the time they were recorded.
Results: The univariable analysis found living in areas with higher road density levels is associated with reductions in lung function, which may imply that asthmatics living in the Pittsburgh area that are exposed to higher levels of air pollution experience steeper airway function declines. However, when adjusting for the confounders of race, age, and sex, there was no true association found between the PFT test results and road density or PM2.5 exposure.
Public Health Significance: From a public health perspective, this study may help planning committees better understand and recognize the necessity to monitor traffic related air pollution mechanisms in specific areas of Allegheny County. Individuals are exposed to manmade and natural air pollutants at all times of the day throughout the course of their lifetime. An individual that is exposed to larger amounts of air pollution, and has clinical asthma, may benefit from being knowledgeable about the effects of air pollution on his or her body, and how to limit their daily exposures.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Parikh, Anjaniarp97@pitt.eduARP970000-0001-8452-4087
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHawk, Marymeh96@pitt.eduMEH96
Committee MemberHolguin,
Committee MemberClougherty, Janejcloughe@pitt.eduJCLOUGHE
Date: 15 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 April 2015
Approval Date: 15 June 2015
Submission Date: 6 April 2015
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 61
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: asthma particulate matter public health
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 19:17
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 05:15


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