Air quality and pediatric emergency room visits for asthma in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Apr 15;151(8):798-810. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a010280.


Pediatric emergency room visits for asthma were studied in relation to air quality indices in a spatio-temporal investigation of approximately 130,000 visits (approximately 6,000 for asthma) to the major emergency care centers in Atlanta, Georgia, during the summers of 1993-1995. Generalized estimating equations, logistic regression, and Bayesian models were fitted to the data. In logistic regression models comparing estimated exposures of asthma cases with those of the nonasthma patients, controlling for temporal and demographic covariates and using residential zip code to link patients to spatially resolved ozone levels, the estimated relative risk per 20 parts per billion (ppb) increase in the maximum 8-hour ozone level was 1.04 (p < 0.05). The estimated relative risk for particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) was 1.04 per 15 microg/m3 (p < 0.05). Exposure-response trends (p < 0.01) were observed for ozone (>100 ppb vs. <50 ppb: odds ratio = 1.23, p = 0.003) and PM10 (>60 microg/m3 vs. <20 microg/m3: odds ratio = 1.26, p = 0.004). In models with ozone and PM10, both terms became nonsignificant because of collinearity of the variables (r= 0.75). The other analytical approaches yielded consistent findings. This study supports accumulating evidence regarding the relation of air pollution to childhood asthma exacerbation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / adverse effects
  • Ozone / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Air Pollutants
  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Ozone