Air Quality and Pediatric Asthma in Washington, DC

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Award Year: 
2018
Principal Investigator: 
Kelly Jones, SESYNC Postdoctoral Fellow
Laura Anderko, Collaborating Mentor

Nationally, 8.4% of children have asthma. Air quality has been identified as a key factor in the development of respiratory conditions. However, health conditions and developmental state are not the only factors that increase an individual’s risk for adverse respiratory outcomes associated with poor air quality. Indeed, family socio-economic status and neighborhood factors such as open/green space, street tree coverage, proximity to sources of pollution (e.g., power plants, traffic), and the speed with which pollutants are flushed out of the atmosphere all represent mechanisms by which exposure to outdoor air quality can differ based on neighborhood of residence. Therefore, in addition to identifying susceptible populations based on individual characteristics, susceptible populations may be identified geographically. Identification of specific locations that demonstrate increased risk of respiratory events during times of regional poor air quality may help to determine what environmental features contribute to localized poor air quality that puts certain neighborhoods at elevated risk compared to the entire region. Additionally, areas with anomalously high rates of adverse respiratory events that are not predicted by existing models may suggest that local wind conditions significantly affect air quality in ways that are not fully understood. The purpose of this project will be to identify specific features of the neighborhood environment that increase risk of adverse respiratory events for all residents. Specific aims of the project include: Identify local neighborhood conditions, including neighborhood socio-economic status and linear distance to possible pollutants that predict neighborhoods with increased risk of adverse respiratory events associated with poor air quality; and determine if surface roughness associated with building height variance increases the neighborhood risk of adverse respiratory events.

Associated SESYNC Researcher(s): 
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