Differential exposure to hazardous air pollution in the United States: A multilevel analysis of urbanization and neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation

Gary S. Young, Mary A. Fox, Michael Trush, Norma Kanarek, Thomas A. Glass, Frank C. Curriero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Population exposure to multiple chemicals in air presents significant challenges for environmental public health. Air quality regulations distinguish criteria air pollutants (CAPs) (e.g., ozone, PM2.5) from hazardous air pollutants (HAPs)-187 chemicals which include carcinogens and others that are associated with respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and numerous other non-cancer health effects. Evidence of the public's cumulative exposure and the health effects of HAPs are quite limited. A multilevel model is used to assess differential exposure to HAP respiratory, neurological, and cancer hazards (2005) related to the Townsend Index of Socioeconomic Deprivation (TSI), after adjustment for regional population size and economic activity, and local population density. We found significant positive associations between tract TSI and respiratory and cancer HAP exposure hazards, and smaller effects for neurological HAPs. Tracts in the top quintile of TSI have between 38%-60% higher HAP exposure than the bottom quintile; increasing population size from the bottom quintile to the top quintile modifies HAP exposure hazard related to TSI, increasing cancer HAP exposure hazard by 6% to 20% and increasing respiratory HAP exposure hazard by 12% to 27%. This study demonstrates the value of social epidemiological methods for analyzing differential exposure and advancing cumulative risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2204-2225
Number of pages22
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

Keywords

  • Cumulative risk assessment
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Hazardous air pollution
  • Respiratory health exposure hazards
  • Social epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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