Estimating policy-relevant health effects of ambient heat exposures using spatially contiguous reanalysis data
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Estimating policy-relevant health effects of ambient heat exposures using spatially contiguous reanalysis data

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  • Journal Title:
    Environmental Health
  • NOAA Program & Office:
  • Description:
    Background: Regional National Weather Service (NWS) heat advisory criteria in New York State (NYS) were based on frequency of heat events estimated by sparse monitoring data. These may not accurately reflect temperatures at which specific health risks occur in large geographic regions. The objectives of the study were to use spatially resolved temperature data to characterize health risks related to summertime heat exposure and estimate the temperatures at which excessive risk of heat-related adverse health occurs in NYS. We also evaluated the need to adjust current heat advisory threshold and messaging based on threshold temperatures of multiple health outcomes.

    Methods: We assessed the effect of multi-day lag exposure for maximum near-surface air temperature (Tmax) and maximum Heat Index derived from the gridded National Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) reanalysis dataset on emergency department (ED) visits/ hospitalizations for heat stress, dehydration, acute kidney failure (AKF) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) using a case-crossover analysis during summers of 2008-2012. We assessed effect modification using interaction terms and stratified analysis. Thresholds were estimated using piecewise spline regression.

    Results: We observed an increased risk of heat stress (Risk ratio (RR) = 1.366, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.347, 1.386) and dehydration (RR = 1.024, 95% CI: 1.021, 1.028) for every 1 °C increase in Tmax on the day of exposure. The highest risk for AKF (RR = 1.017, 95% CI: 1.014, 1.021) and CVD (RR = 1.001, 95% CI: 1.000, 1.002) were at lag 1 and 4 respectively. The increased risk of heat-health effects persists up to 6 days. Rural areas of NYS are at as high a risk of heat-health effects as urban areas. Heat-health risks start increasing at temperatures much lower than the current NWS criteria.

    Conclusion: Reanalysis data provide refined exposure-response functions for health research, in areas with sparse monitor observations. Based on this research, rural areas in NYS had similar risk for health effects of heat. Heat advisories in New York City (NYC) had been reviewed and lowered previously. As such, the current NWS heat advisory threshold was lowered for the upstate region of New York and surrounding areas. Enhanced outreach materials were also developed and disseminated to local health departments and the public.

  • Source:
    Environ Health. 2019 Apr 18;18(1):35.
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    CC BY
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