Project at a Glance

Title: Is disparity in asthma among Californians due to higher pollutant exposures, greater susceptibility, or both?

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Meng, Ying-Ying

Contractor: UC Los Angeles

Contract Number: 07-309

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Health Effects of Air Pollution, Toxic Air Contaminants


This study addresses the question: Is the disproportionate burden of asthma or asthma-like symptoms among low socioeconomic status individuals related to greater pollutant exposures, greater vulnerabilities, or both? Using Geographic Information System (GIS) software, we linked California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) 2003 respondentsí residential addresses to government air monitoring stations for O3, PM10, PM2.5, and NO2. We calculated annual pollutant averages and days exceeding air quality standards and assessed traffic density and residential distance to roadways. Higher exposures were estimated for low income and racial/ethnic minority respondents with asthma for NO2, PM10, and PM2.5, but not O3. Among adults with asthma, we observed increases in adverse asthma outcomes, such as daily/weekly symptoms, asthma attacks, daily medication use, and asthma-related work absences and emergency department visits with increasing annual average pollutant concentrations. Among children with asthma, daily asthma medication use and school absences were associated with increased annual average NO2 concentration. Similar positive associations were observed between O3, PM10, and PM2.5 exceedance days and asthma outcomes, mainly for adults. When adjusting for confounders, associations between pollutants and asthma outcomes persisted. Notably, racial/ethnic minority and low income respondents had greater increases in adverse asthma outcomes for similar increases in NO2 and PM10 exposures.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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