Asthma-related ED visits spiked in Bronx after 9/11 attacks
LOS ANGELES — Following the World Trade Center attacks in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, asthma-related emergency department visits increased in the Bronx, according to recent study findings presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting.
In addition, the researchers found increases in atmospheric ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
“We observed a significant increase in asthma-related emergency department visits at Montefiore’s Weiler and Moses divisions during the winter and spring in 2002 (one year after the World Trade Center attacks) compared with the winter and spring of 1999 (one year prior to the World Trade Center attacks),” Jennifer Toh, MD, at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY, told Healio.com/Allergy. “We also observed a significant increase in ozone and sulfur dioxide air pollutants in all four seasons of 2002 compared with 1999 as well as an increase in nitrogen dioxide in the spring of 2002 compared with 1999.”
To evaluate the impact of the attacks on asthma-related ED visits, the researchers analyzed the number of these visits and the amount of pollutant levels during both 1999 and 2002, a year before and a year after the attacks. They calculate the median daily value of each variable for each season.
The researchers found that asthma-related ED visits increased for both the winter (P < .0001) and spring (P < .0001). Atmospheric nitrogen dioxide increased for both the spring (0.037 ppm vs. 0.046) and summer (0.033 ppm vs. 0.044). In addition, atmospheric ozone and sulfur dioxide increased for all four seasons (P < .0001).
According to Toh, “These results suggest that the World Trade Center attacks in Downtown Manhattan may have an impact on asthmatics in the Bronx area.” – by Will Offit
Reference: Sharma KI, et al. Abstract 19. Presented at: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting; March 4-7, 2016; Los Angeles.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.