Tag Archives: People in Poor Neighborhoods Breathe More Hazardous Particles

Imperial College London study: Major study finds no conclusive links to health effects from waste incinerators

27 Jun

Cheryl Katz wrote the 2012 Scientific American article, People in Poor Neighborhoods Breathe More Hazardous Particles:

Tiny particles of air pollution contain more hazardous ingredients in non-white and low-income communities than in affluent white ones, a new study shows.
The greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely that potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc are in the mix of fine particles they breathe.
Latinos had the highest exposures to the largest number of these ingredients, while whites generally had the lowest.
The findings of the Yale University research add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards, according to the article published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Fresno are among the metropolitan areas with unhealthful levels of fine particles and large concentrations of poor minorities. More than 50 counties could exceed a new tighter health standard for particulates proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment may face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards. A pervasive air pollutant, the fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 is a mixture of emissions from diesel engines, power plants, refineries and other sources of combustion. Often called soot, the microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs.
The new study is the first to reveal major racial and economic differences in exposures to specific particle ingredients, some of which are linked to asthma, cardiovascular problems and cancer…. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/people-poor-neighborhoods-breate-more-hazardous-particles/

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine expands upon the link between neighborhood greenness and disease. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421171345.htm

Science Daily reported in Major study finds no conclusive links to health effects from waste incinerators:

Researchers have found no link between exposure to emissions from municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) and infant deaths or reduced foetal growth.
However, they show living closer to the incinerators themselves is associated with a very small increase in the risk of some birth defects, compared to the general population. But whether this is directly related to the incinerator or not remains unclear.
The findings come from the largest and most comprehensive analysis to date of the effects of municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) on public health in the UK.
MWIs are used to burn waste that is not recycled, composted or sent to landfill and can include materials such as paper, plastic, wood and metal. While MWI emissions are governed by EU regulations, public concern remains around their potential impact on public health and scientific studies to date have been inconsistent or inconclusive.
The analysis, led by a team at Imperial College London and funded by Public Health England and the Scottish Government, looked at MWIs at 22 sites across the UK between 2003 and 2010.
Researchers from the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at Imperial first analysed concentrations of fine particles called PM10 (particulate matter measuring 10 micrometres or less in diameter) emitted from the chimneys of the incinerators as waste is burned.
Computer models generated from the data showed how these particles spread over a 10 km radius around 22 MWIs in England, Scotland and Wales. The models show that MWIs added very little to the existing background levels of PM10 at ground level – with existing PM10 concentrations at ground level on average 100 to 10,000 times higher than levels emitted by the chimneys (Environment Science & Technology, 2017).
Using these models, the team then investigated potential links between concentrations of PM10 emitted by MWIs and any increased risk of adverse birth outcomes. In an earlier study (Environment International, 2018), they found that analysis of records covering more than one million births in England, Scotland and Wales revealed no evidence of a link between small particles emitted by the incinerators and adverse birth outcomes such as effects on birthweight, premature birth, infant death, or stillbirth, for children born within 10 km of MWIs in Great Britain…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190620220026.htm

Citation:

Major study finds no conclusive links to health effects from waste incinerators
Date: June 20, 2019
Source: Imperial College London
Summary:
Researchers have found no link between exposure to emissions from municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) and infant deaths or reduced fetal growth.

Journal References:

Brandon Parkes, Anna L. Hansell, Rebecca E. Ghosh, Philippa Douglas, Daniela Fecht, Diana Wellesley, Jennifer J. Kurinczuk, Judith Rankin, Kees de Hoogh, Gary W. Fuller, Paul Elliott, Mireille B. Toledano. Risk of congenital anomalies near municipal waste incinerators in England and Scotland: Retrospective population-based cohort study. Environment International, 2019; 104845 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.05.039

Rebecca E. Ghosh, Anna Freni-Sterrantino, Philippa Douglas, Brandon Parkes, Daniela Fecht, Kees de Hoogh, Gary Fuller, John Gulliver, Anna Font, Rachel B. Smith, Marta Blangiardo, Paul Elliott, Mireille B. Toledano, Anna L. Hansell. Fetal growth, stillbirth, infant mortality and other birth outcomes near UK municipal waste incinerators; retrospective population based cohort and case-control study. Environment International, 2019; 122: 151 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.10.060

Philippa Douglas, Anna Freni-Sterrantino, Maria Leal Sanchez, Danielle C. Ashworth, Rebecca E. Ghosh, Daniela Fecht, Anna Font, Marta Blangiardo, John Gulliver, Mireille B. Toledano, Paul Elliott, Kees de Hoogh, Gary W. Fuller, Anna L. Hansell. Estimating Particulate Exposure from Modern Municipal Waste Incinerators in Great Britain. Environmental Science & Technology, 2017; 51 (13): 7511 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b06478
A. Freni-Sterrantino, R.E. Ghosh, D. Fecht, M.B. Toledano, P. Elliott, A.L. Hansell, M. Blangiardo. Bayesian spatial modelling for quasi-experimental designs: An interrupted time series study of the opening of Municipal Waste Incinerators in relation to infant mortality and sex ratio. Environment International, 2019; 128: 109 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.04.009

Anna Font, Kees de Hoogh, Maria Leal-Sanchez, Danielle C. Ashworth, Richard J.C. Brown, Anna L. Hansell, Gary W. Fuller. Using metal ratios to detect emissions from municipal waste incinerators in ambient air pollution data. Atmospheric Environment, 2015; 113: 177 DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.05.002

Danielle C. Ashworth, Paul Elliott, Mireille B. Toledano. Waste incineration and adverse birth and neonatal outcomes: a systematic review. Environment International, 2014; 69: 120 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.04.003

Here is the press release from Imperial College London:

NEWS RELEASE 20-JUN-2019
Major study finds no conclusive links to health effects from waste incinerators
IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON
Researchers have found no link between exposure to emissions from municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) and infant deaths or reduced foetal growth.
However, they show living closer to the incinerators themselves is associated with a very small increase in the risk of some birth defects, compared to the general population. But whether this is directly related to the incinerator or not remains unclear.
The findings come from the largest and most comprehensive analysis to date of the effects of municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) on public health in the UK.
MWIs are used to burn waste that is not recycled, composted or sent to landfill and can include materials such as paper, plastic, wood and metal. While MWI emissions are governed by EU regulations, public concern remains around their potential impact on public health and scientific studies to date have been inconsistent or inconclusive.
The analysis, led by a team at Imperial College London and funded by Public Health England and the Scottish Government, looked at MWIs at 22 sites across the UK between 2003 and 2010.
Researchers from the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at Imperial first analysed concentrations of fine particles called PM10 (particulate matter measuring 10 micrometres or less in diameter) emitted from the chimneys of the incinerators as waste is burned.
Computer models generated from the data showed how these particles spread over a 10 km radius around 22 MWIs in England, Scotland and Wales. The models show that MWIs added very little to the existing background levels of PM10 at ground level – with existing PM10 concentrations at ground level on average 100 to 10,000 times higher than levels emitted by the chimneys (Environment Science & Technology, 2017).
Using these models, the team then investigated potential links between concentrations of PM10 emitted by MWIs and any increased risk of adverse birth outcomes. In an earlier study (Environment International, 2018), they found that analysis of records covering more than one million births in England, Scotland and Wales revealed no evidence of a link between small particles emitted by the incinerators and adverse birth outcomes such as effects on birthweight, premature birth, infant death, or stillbirth, for children born within 10 km of MWIs in Great Britain.
The team’s latest findings, published in the journal Environment International, looked at occurrence of birth defects within 10 km of a subset of 10 incinerators in England and Scotland between 2003 and 2010. In their analysis, the team used health data on more than 5000 cases of birth defects among over 200,000 births, still births and terminations in England and Scotland.
They found no association between birth defects and the modelled concentrations of PM10 emitted by MWIs, but there was a small increase in the risk of two birth defects among those living closer to MWIs – specifically congenital heart defects and hypospadias (affecting the male genitalia – where the opening of the urethra is not at the top of the penis). These birth defects typically require surgery but are rarely life-threatening.
In the UK, congenital heart defects affect approximately 5.3 in 1000 births and 1.9 per 1000 males are born with hypospadias (Source: NCARDRS 2016*).
In terms of excess risk, the team estimates that the associated increase in risk for these two birth defects could be around 0.6 cases per 1,000 total births for congenital heart defects and 0.6 cases per 1,000 male births for hypospadias within 10 km of an incinerator.
Professor Paul Elliott, Director of the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) said: “Based on the available data, our findings showing that there is no significant increased risk of infant death, stillbirth, preterm birth or effects on birthweight from municipal waste incinerators are reassuring. The findings on birth defects are inconclusive, but our study design means we cannot rule out that living closer to an incinerator in itself may slightly increase the risk of some specific defects – although the reasons for this are unclear.”
Professor Mireille Toledano, Chair in Perinatal and Paediatric Environmental Epidemiology at Imperial, said: “In these studies we found a small increase in risk for children living within 10 km of an MWI being born with a heart defect, or a genital anomaly affecting boys, but did not find an association with the very low levels of particulates emitted. This increase with proximity to an incinerator may not be related directly to emissions from the MWIs. It is important to consider other potential factors such as the increased pollution from industrial traffic in the areas around MWIs or the specific population mix that lives in those areas.”
Professor Anna Hansell, Director of the Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability at the University of Leicester, who previously led the work while at Imperial College London, added: “Taken together, this large body of work reinforces the current advice from Public Health England – that while it’s not possible to rule out all impacts on public health, modern and well-regulated incinerators are likely to have a very small, or even undetectable, impact on people living nearby.”
The team explains that while the results of the emissions studies are reassuring, they cannot rule out a link between the increased incidence of the two birth defects and the activities of the MWIs. They add that while they adjusted their results for socioeconomic and ethnic status, these may still influence birth outcomes findings. Poorer families may be living closer to MWIs due to lower housing or living costs in industrial areas, and their exposure to industrial road traffic or other pollutants may be increased.
The researchers highlight that their findings are limited by a number of factors. Also, they did not have measurements (for the hundreds of thousands of individual births considered) of metals or chemical compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins, but used PM10 concentrations as a proxy for exposure to MWI emissions – as has been used in other incinerator studies.
They add that ongoing review of evidence is needed to explore links further, as well as ongoing surveillance of incinerators in the UK to monitor any potential long-term impacts on public health.
###
The research was funded by Public Health England and the Scottish Government, with support from the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-06/icl-msf062019.php

This society will not have healthy children without having healthy home and school environments.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?
http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health
http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

Where information leads to Hope. ©

Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Washington University in St. Louis study: Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally

1 Jul

Cheryl Katz wrote the 2012 Scientific American article, People in Poor Neighborhoods Breathe More Hazardous Particles:

Tiny particles of air pollution contain more hazardous ingredients in non-white and low-income communities than in affluent white ones, a new study shows.
The greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely that potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc are in the mix of fine particles they breathe.
Latinos had the highest exposures to the largest number of these ingredients, while whites generally had the lowest.
The findings of the Yale University research add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards, according to the article published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Fresno are among the metropolitan areas with unhealthful levels of fine particles and large concentrations of poor minorities. More than 50 counties could exceed a new tighter health standard for particulates proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment may face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards. A pervasive air pollutant, the fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 is a mixture of emissions from diesel engines, power plants, refineries and other sources of combustion. Often called soot, the microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs.
The new study is the first to reveal major racial and economic differences in exposures to specific particle ingredients, some of which are linked to asthma, cardiovascular problems and cancer…. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/people-poor-neighborhoods-breate-more-hazardous-particles/

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine expanded upon the link between neighborhood greenness and disease.

Science Daily reported in Study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases:

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.
The findings, published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are based on 2010 — 2011 health data reported for approximately 250,000 Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, and a measure of vegetative presence based on NASA satellite imagery. The study was the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults, and the first to measure the impact of greenness on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.
“This study builds on our research group’s earlier analyses showing block level impacts of mixed-use and supportive building features on adults and children,” said lead study author Scott Brown, Ph.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences. Brown was a co-principal investigator on the study with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, M.Arch., a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture. Plater-Zyberk, who was responsible for the rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning code in 2010, said the study results “give impetus to public agencies and property owners to plant and maintain a verdant public landscape.”
Study findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study’s Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421171345.htm

A Washington University in St. Louis study reported a link between pollution and diabetes.

Science Daily reported in Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally:

New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System.
The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases, affecting more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main drivers of diabetes include eating an unhealthy diet, having a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity, but the new research indicates the extent to which outdoor air pollution plays a role.
“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. “We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened.”
The findings are published June 29 in The Lancet Planetary Health.
While growing evidence has suggested a link between air pollution and diabetes, researchers have not attempted to quantify that burden until now. “Over the past two decades, there have been bits of research about diabetes and pollution,” Al-Aly said. “We wanted to thread together the pieces for a broader, more solid understanding…” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180630153740.htm

Citation:

Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally
Even low pollution levels can pose health risk
Date: June 30, 2018
Source: Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a new study. The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Journal Reference:
1. Bowe B, Xie Y, Li T, Yan Y, Xian H, Al-Aly Z. The 2016 Global and National Burden of Diabetes Mellitus Attributable to Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution. The Lancet Planetary Health, June 29, 2018

Here is the press release from Washington University:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 29-JUN-2018
Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally
Even low pollution levels can pose health risk
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS
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New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System.
The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases, affecting more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main drivers of diabetes include eating an unhealthy diet, having a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity, but the new research indicates the extent to which outdoor air pollution plays a role.
“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. “We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened.”
The findings are published June 29 in The Lancet Planetary Health.
While growing evidence has suggested a link between air pollution and diabetes, researchers have not attempted to quantify that burden until now. “Over the past two decades, there have been bits of research about diabetes and pollution,” Al-Aly said. “We wanted to thread together the pieces for a broader, more solid understanding.”
To evaluate outdoor air pollution, the researchers looked at particulate matter, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets. Previous studies have found that such particles can enter the lungs and invade the bloodstream, contributing to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and kidney disease. In diabetes, pollution is thought to reduce insulin production and trigger inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health.
Overall, the researchers estimated that pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases globally in 2016, which represents about 14 percent of all new diabetes cases globally that year. They also estimated that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes, representing about 14 percent of all years of healthy life lost due to diabetes from any cause. (The measure of how many years of healthy life are lost is often referred to as “disability-adjusted life years.”)
In the United States, the study attributed 150,000 new cases of diabetes per year to air pollution and 350,000 years of healthy life lost annually.
The Washington University team, in collaboration with scientists at the Veterans Affairs’ Clinical Epidemiology Center, examined the relationship between particulate matter and the risk of diabetes by first analyzing data from 1.7 million U.S. veterans who were followed for a median of 8.5 years. The veterans did not have histories of diabetes. The researchers linked that patient data with the EPA’s land-based air monitoring systems as well as space-borne satellites operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They used several statistical models and tested the validity against controls such as ambient air sodium concentrations, which have no link to diabetes, and lower limb fractures, which have no link to outdoor air pollution, as well as the risk of developing diabetes, which exhibited a strong link to air pollution. This exercise helped the researchers weed out spurious associations.
Then, they sifted through all research related to diabetes and outdoor air pollution and devised a model to evaluate diabetes risk across various pollution levels.
Finally, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study, which is conducted annually with contributions from researchers worldwide. The data helped to estimate annual cases of diabetes and healthy years of life lost due to pollution.
The researchers also found that the overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is tilted more toward lower-income countries such as India that lack the resources for environmental mitigation systems and clean-air policies. For instance, poverty-stricken countries facing a higher diabetes-pollution risk include Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Guyana, while richer countries such as France, Finland and Iceland experience a lower risk. The U.S. experiences a moderate risk of pollution-related diabetes.
In the U.S., the EPA’s pollution threshold is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the highest level of air pollution considered safe for the public, as set by the Clean Air Act of 1990 and updated in 2012. However, using mathematical models, Al-Aly’s team established an increased diabetes risk at 2.4 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Based on VA data, among a sample of veterans exposed to pollution at a level of between 5 to 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, about 21 percent developed diabetes. When that exposure increases to 11.9 to 13.6 micrograms per cubic meter of air, about 24 percent of the group developed diabetes. A 3 percent difference appears small, but it represents an increase of 5,000 to 6,000 new diabetes cases per 100,000 people in a given year.
In October 2017, The Lancet Commission on pollution and health published a report outlining knowledge gaps on pollution’s harmful health effects. One of its recommendations was to define and quantify the relationship between pollution and diabetes.
“The team in St. Louis is doing important research to firm up links between pollution and health conditions such as diabetes,” said commission member Philip J. Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who is the dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and chair of its Department of Preventive Medicine. “I believe their research will have a significant global impact.”
###
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

This society will not have healthy children without having healthy home and school environments.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?
http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health
http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

Where information leads to Hope. ©

Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine study: Links between neighborhood greenness and reduction in chronic diseases

24 Apr

Cheryl Katz wrote the 2012 Scientific American article, People in Poor Neighborhoods Breathe More Hazardous Particles:

Tiny particles of air pollution contain more hazardous ingredients in non-white and low-income communities than in affluent white ones, a new study shows.

The greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely that potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc are in the mix of fine particles they breathe.

Latinos had the highest exposures to the largest number of these ingredients, while whites generally had the lowest.

The findings of the Yale University research add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards, according to the article published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Fresno are among the metropolitan areas with unhealthful levels of fine particles and large concentrations of poor minorities. More than 50 counties could exceed a new tighter health standard for particulates proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment may face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards. A pervasive air pollutant, the fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 is a mixture of emissions from diesel engines, power plants, refineries and other sources of combustion. Often called soot, the microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs.

The new study is the first to reveal major racial and economic differences in exposures to specific particle ingredients, some of which are linked to asthma, cardiovascular problems and cancer….                                                                   http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/people-poor-neighborhoods-breate-more-hazardous-particles/

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine expands upon the link between neighborhood greenness and disease.

Science Daily reported in Study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases:

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.

The findings, published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are based on 2010 — 2011 health data reported for approximately 250,000 Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, and a measure of vegetative presence based on NASA satellite imagery. The study was the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults, and the first to measure the impact of greenness on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.

“This study builds on our research group’s earlier analyses showing block level impacts of mixed-use and supportive building features on adults and children,” said lead study author Scott Brown, Ph.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences. Brown was a co-principal investigator on the study with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, M.Arch., a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture. Plater-Zyberk, who was responsible for the rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning code in 2010, said the study results “give impetus to public agencies and property owners to plant and maintain a verdant public landscape.”

Study findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study’s Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders…..                                                   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421171345.htm

Citation:

Study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases

Date:       April 21, 2016

Source:   University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Summary:

Higher levels of greenness (trees, park space and other vegetation) in neighborhoods is linked with significantly lower chronic illnesses, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, public health researchers has shown. The findings were based on 250,000 Medicare recipients age 65 and vegetation presence measured by NASA satellite imagery.

Journal Reference:

  1. Scott C. Brown, Joanna Lombard, Kefeng Wang, Margaret M. Byrne, Matthew Toro, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Daniel J. Feaster, Jack Kardys, Maria I. Nardi, Gianna Perez-Gomez, Hilda M. Pantin, José Szapocznik. Neighborhood Greenness and Chronic Health Conditions in Medicare Beneficiaries. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.02.008

Am J Prev Med. 2016 Mar 31. pii: S0749-3797(16)00065-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.02.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Neighborhood Greenness and Chronic Health Conditions in Medicare Beneficiaries.

Brown SC1, Lombard J2, Wang K3, Byrne MM3, Toro M3, Plater-Zyberk E2, Feaster DJ3, Kardys J4, Nardi MI4, Perez-Gomez G3, Pantin HM3, Szapocznik J2.

Author information

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Prior studies suggest that exposure to the natural environment may impact health. The present study examines the association between objective measures of block-level greenness (vegetative presence) and chronic medical conditions, including cardiometabolic conditions, in a large population-based sample of Medicare beneficiaries in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

METHODS:

The sample included 249,405 Medicare beneficiaries aged ≥65 years whose location (ZIP+4) within Miami-Dade County, Florida, did not change, from 2010 to 2011. Data were obtained in 2013 and multilevel analyses conducted in 2014 to examine relationships between greenness, measured by mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index from satellite imagery at the Census block level, and chronic health conditions in 2011, adjusting for neighborhood median household income, individual age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

RESULTS:

Higher greenness was significantly associated with better health, adjusting for covariates: An increase in mean block-level Normalized Difference Vegetation Index from 1 SD less to 1 SD more than the mean was associated with 49 fewer chronic conditions per 1,000 individuals, which is approximately similar to a reduction in age of the overall study population by 3 years. This same level of increase in mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index was associated with a reduced risk of diabetes by 14%, hypertension by 13%, and hyperlipidemia by 10%. Planned post-hoc analyses revealed stronger and more consistently positive relationships between greenness and health in lower- than higher-income neighborhoods.

CONCLUSIONS:

Greenness or vegetative presence may be effective in promoting health in older populations, particularly in poor neighborhoods, possibly due to increased time outdoors, physical activity, or stress mitigation.

Copyright © 2016 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:

27061891

[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Here is the press release from the University of Miami:

UM Study Links Neighborhood Greenness to Reduction in Chronic Diseases

Published: April 22, 2016.
Released by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.

The findings, published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are based on 2010 – 2011 health data reported for approximately 250,000 Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, and a measure of vegetative presence based on NASA satellite imagery. The study was the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults, and the first to measure the impact of greenness on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.

“This study builds on our research group’s earlier analyses showing block level impacts of mixed-use and supportive building features on adults and children,” said lead study author Scott Brown, Ph.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences. Brown was a co-principal investigator on the study with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, M.Arch., a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture. Plater-Zyberk, who was responsible for the rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning code in 2010, said the study results “give impetus to public agencies and property owners to plant and maintain a verdant public landscape.”

Study findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study’s Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders.

“Going from a low to a high level of greenness at the block level is associated with 49 fewer chronic health conditions per 1,000 residents, which is approximately equivalent to a reduction in the biomedical aging of the study population by three years,” said Brown.

Jack Kardys, Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, participated in data interpretation along with Miami-Dade County Parks’ Chief of Planning, Research, and Design Excellence, Maria Nardi. Kardys said the study findings “illuminate the vital role of parks and greens to health and well-being, and point to the critical need for a holistic approach in planning that draws on research.”

The study findings suggest extensive potential for park, open space, and streetscape design in South Florida and the United States to consider health impacts in strategic planning. Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research and the Health Foundation of South Florida, the research adds to a growing body of evidence that exposure to higher levels of greenness is associated with better health outcomes, by reducing stress, air pollution, humidity and heat island impacts, and encouraging physical activity, social interaction and community cohesion.

From a design standpoint, study co-author Joanna Lombard, M.Arch., professor of architecture, noted that the goals of the County’s Parks and Open Spaces Masterplan already call for residents to have access to greenspace from the minute they walk outside of their homes, through tree-lined streets, as well as greens, parks, and open spaces within a 5 to 10 minute walk of their home, all of which have been shown to be linked to better health outcomes. “There’s so much suffering involved in the time, money and energy spent on disease burden in the U.S., which we realize that we can, to some extent, ameliorate through healthy community design,” said Lombard. “We collectively need to be attentive to the health impacts of the built environment. The associated harms are evident, and most importantly going forward, the potential benefits are significant.”

In examining the results by income level and by race, the research showed that the health benefits of greenness were proportionately stronger among all racial and ethnic groups in lower income neighborhoods. Brown said this aspect of the findings suggests that incorporating more green — trees, parks and open spaces — in low income neighborhoods could also address issues of health disparities, which have been recently highlighted in research journals and the national media.

José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and chair of public health sciences, and founder of the University of Miami Built Environment, Behavior, and Health Research Group, pointed out that augmenting greenness, particularly in warm climates, potentially contributes to the effectiveness of other aspects of walkability. “Providing a green feature,” said Szapocznik, “has been associated with safety, increased time outdoors, physical activity, and social interaction, and may potentially reduce disease burdens at the population level and enhance residents’ quality of life.”

This society will not have healthy children without having healthy home and school environments.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?                                                                     http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty                                                   https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health                                      http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

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