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Vegetation fires, particulate air pollution and asthma: a panel study in the Australian monsoon tropics


Johnston, F and Webby, R and Pilotto, L and Bailie, R and Parry, D and Halpin, S, Vegetation fires, particulate air pollution and asthma: a panel study in the Australian monsoon tropics, International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 16, (6) pp. 391-404. ISSN 0960-3123 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/09603120601093642


We examined the relationship between particulate matter (PM) <10 and <2.5 microns in diameter (PM10 and PM2.5) generated by vegetation fires and daily health outcomes in 251 adults and children with asthma over a 7-month period. Data were analysed using generalized estimating equations adjusted for potential environmental confounders, autocorrelation, weekends and holidays. PM10 ranged from 2.6 - 43.3 μg m -3and was significantly associated with onset of asthma symptoms, commencing oral steroid medication, the mean daily symptom count and the mean daily dose of reliever medication. Similar results were found for PM 2.5. No associations were found with the more severe outcomes of asthma attacks, increased health care attendances or missed school/work days. These results help fill a gap in the evidence about the population health impacts of lower levels of pollution characteristic of deliberate landscape burning to control fuel loads versus the better documented risks of more intense and severely polluting wildfires.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Air pollution; Asthma; Particulate matter; Prescribed burning; Vegetation fires
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Johnston, F (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:63327
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2010-04-29
Last Modified:2010-04-29

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