Asthma and air pollution in the Bronx: methodological and data considerations in using GIS for environmental justice and health research

Health Place. 2007 Mar;13(1):32-56. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2005.09.009. Epub 2005 Nov 28.


This paper examines methods of environmental justice assessment with Geographic Information Systems, using research on the spatial correspondence between asthma and air pollution in the Bronx, New York City as a case study. Issues of spatial extent and resolution, the selection of environmental burdens to analyze, data and methodological limitations, and different approaches to delineating exposure are discussed in the context of the asthma study, which, through proximity analysis, found that people living near (within specified distance buffers) noxious land uses were up to 66 percent more likely to be hospitalized for asthma, and were 30 percent more likely to be poor and 13 percent more likely to be a minority than those outside the buffers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / ethics
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Health* / economics
  • Environmental Health* / ethics
  • Epidemiologic Research Design*
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Minority Groups
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Poverty Areas
  • Residence Characteristics / classification*
  • Social Justice*
  • Socioeconomic Factors