Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asthma rate and costs from traffic pollution higher: Much higher than past traditional risk assessments have indicated

Date:
January 26, 2012
Source:
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Summary:
A team of resource economist researchers has revised the cost burden sharply upward for childhood asthma and for the first time include the number of cases attributable to air pollution, in a new study.

A research team led by University of Massachusetts Amherst resource economist Sylvia Brandt, with colleagues in California and Switzerland, have revised the cost burden sharply upward for childhood asthma and for the first time include the number of cases attributable to air pollution, in a study released this week in the early online version of the European Respiratory Journal.

The total cost of asthma due to pollution is much higher than past traditional risk assessments have indicated and there is growing evidence that exposure to traffic-related air pollution is a cause of asthma and a trigger for attacks, so it should be included, say the authors. They conducted the study in Long Beach and Riverside, Calif., communities with high regional air pollution levels and large roads near residential neighborhoods.

Total additional asthma-specific costs there due to traffic-related pollution is about $18 million per year, almost half of which is due to new asthma cases caused by pollution, they report. Brandt worked with researchers at the University of Basel, Switzerland, Sonoma Technology, Inc. and the University of Southern California.

Using updated techniques that count asthma cases attributable to air pollution for the first time and including a broader range of health care costs such as parents’ missed work days, extra doctor visits and travel time along with prescriptions, the researchers found that a single episode of bronchitic symptoms cost an average $972 in Riverside and $915 in Long Beach. Bronchitic symptoms (daily cough, congestion or phlegm, or bronchitis for three months in a row) are a critical outcome for children with asthma.

Further, people who live in cities with high traffic-related air pollution bear a higher burden of these costs than those in less polluted areas, they say.

Brandt and colleagues say the total annual cost for a typical asthma case was $3,819 in Long Beach and $4,063 in Riverside, and “the largest share of the cost of an asthma case was the indirect cost of asthma-related school absences.” School absences are an important economic consequence, they add, because “they often lead to parents or caregivers missing work.”

Overall, Brandt points out that the results are relevant and applicable to many settings and “families with children who have asthma are bearing a high cost. The total annual estimate between $3,800 and $4,000 represents 7 percent of median household income in our study in these two communities. This is troublesome because that is higher than the 5 percent considered to be a bearable or sustainable level of health care costs for a family.”

Riverside and Long Beach account for about 7 percent of the total population of California, the authors say, which suggests that state-wide costs of asthma related to air pollution are “truly substantial.”

For this work, Brandt and colleagues analyzed several surveys on health care visits by children with asthma and their previous estimates of the number of asthma cases attributable to pollution to estimate the annual costs of childhood asthma. They also estimated the cost of asthma exacerbation due to regional air pollutants. They feel the new method does a better job of accounting for the full impact of traffic-related pollution and will be widely applicable in urban areas.

She points out, “Traditional risk assessment methods for air pollution have underestimated both the overall burden of asthma and the cost of the disease associated with air pollution. Our findings suggest the cost has been substantially underestimated and steps must be taken to reduce the burden of traffic-related pollution.”

This work was supported by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District and its settlement funds from BP, as well as by the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hastings Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. J. Brandt, L. Perez, N. Kunzli, F. Lurmann, R. McConnell. Costs of childhood asthma due to traffic-related pollution in two california communities. European Respiratory Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00157811

Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Asthma rate and costs from traffic pollution higher: Much higher than past traditional risk assessments have indicated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120125202759.htm>.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. (2012, January 26). Asthma rate and costs from traffic pollution higher: Much higher than past traditional risk assessments have indicated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120125202759.htm
University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Asthma rate and costs from traffic pollution higher: Much higher than past traditional risk assessments have indicated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120125202759.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins