Associations between Dust Exposure and Hospitalizations in El Paso, Texas, USA
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Associations between Dust Exposure and Hospitalizations in El Paso, Texas, USA

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    The Southwestern USA has been identified as one of the most persistent dust-producing regions of North America, where exposure to inhalable particulate matter (PM10) originating from desertic landscape during dust events/dust exposures (DEs) can reach hazardous levels. El Paso, Texas’s ambient air has reached hazardous levels of PM10 from dust with near zero visibility due to these natural events originating in the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. The aim of this study was to investigate whether dust exposures in El Paso (generally acute, short-term exposures from nearby source areas) are associated with significant increases in hospitalizations on the day of the exposure and up to seven days afterwards. Using a Poisson regression, it was found that the relative risks of hospitalizations due to a variety of conditions were associated with dust exposures (through increases of 100 μg/m3 maximum hourly PM10 and/or increases of 4.5 m/s maximum hourly wind speed) in El Paso County, Texas between 2010 and 2014. Valley fever, coronary atherosclerosis, genitourinary diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, injury and poisoning, circulatory system conditions, respiratory system diseases, births, septicemia, Associated Diseases (the aggregation of hospital admissions for all causes, each associated with at least 5% of hospitalizations), and all ICD-9 admissions were significantly positively associated with dust exposures, indicated from higher to lower significant risk, at different lag periods after exposure. These findings, showing that an association does exist between dust exposures and hospitalizations, have important implications for residents of the world’s dryland cities.
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    Atmosphere, 12(11), 1413
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    CC BY
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