Air Quality and Reported Asthma Incidence in Illinois

EPA Grant Number: R829402C003
Subproject: this is subproject number 003 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829402
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Integrating Statistical and Environmental Science
Center Director: Stein, Michael
Title: Air Quality and Reported Asthma Incidence in Illinois
Investigators: Frederick, John , Draghicescu, Dana , Dukic, Vanja , Eshel, Gidon , Naureckas, Edward , Rathouz, Paul , Zubrow, Alexis
Current Investigators: Frederick, John , Draghicescu, Dana , Dukic, Vanja , Eshel, Gidon , Im, Haekyung , Naureckas, Edward , Rathouz, Paul
Institution: University of Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: March 12, 2002 through March 11, 2007
RFA: Environmental Statistics Center (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Health , Ecosystems , Air


This project focuses on statistical investigations into the relationship between air quality and respiratory health in the Chicago area. The specific objectives of this research project are to: (1) identify atmospheric states most likely to be accompanied by elevated ground-level ozone amounts in Illinois; (2) elaborate on and develop statistical models to describe the spatio-temporal structure in ground-level ozone; (3) examine and compare different measures of asthma incidence for use in population-based studies of the effects of air pollution on respiratory health; and (4) develop statistical models to link acute asthma occurrence in Chicago’s Medicaid population to levels of ozone, particulate matter, pollen, and meteorological conditions in both urban-aggregated and spatially resolved ways.

Research results to date are summarized below for each objective. Problems encountered are mostly centered on the spatial, and in some cases the temporal, coverage of specific data sets related to atmospheric conditions, air quality, and health outcomes. The health outcome data are organized spatially at the level of ZIP code. On any given day, ozone is measured hourly at a minimum of 11 sites in Cook County, but this still does not provide sufficiently dense coverage for all of Cook County’s 56 ZIP codes. Pollen is a significant factor in asthma occurrence, but the available data include only one daily value for the entire Chicago area. The data set for large particles, particulate matter (PM10), has sparse spatial coverage and contains information at irregular time intervals, where the period between data points at a specific site can be up to 6 days. Data on PM2.5 are not available for the same time frame for much of our health outcome data.

Therefore, we are faced with significant problems of incompatible space-time scales across the multiple data sources to be used in our research project. In response to the issues posed by such problems of scale, we are investigating a variety of statistical spatio-temporal modeling techniques, the use of independent data sets with higher spatial resolutions, and physical models (MM5, Community Multiscale Air Quality [CMAQ]) for use in generating spatio-temporal structure in localized factors that may influence asthma incidence. The problems identified are significant, and they have served as a part of the wider impetus for developing important new statistical methodology that will be applicable in our study and in other studies with similar study designs. Consistent with the evaluation provided by the external Advisory Board, upcoming work in this research project will make extensive use of new spatio-temporal statistical methods (developed in another Center for Integrating Statistical and Environmental Science [CISES]-supported effort), as well as the capability in physical modeling of meteorology and air quality at high spatial resolutions. In addition, the longer-term objective of developing improved statistical models for linking acute asthma events to air quality indicators is a driving force behind most of our efforts, and work will continue on these models for the duration of the research project. The effort devoted to identifying relationships between meteorological regimes and air quality has been completed (Eshel and Bernstein, 2003), and further work in this area will not be undertaken.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 21 publications for this subprojectView all 115 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 3 journal articles for this subprojectView all 47 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

respiratory health, air quality, asthma, ozone, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, PM, pollen, meteorological conditions, atmospheric conditions, atmosphere, Chicago, Illinois, IL, Medicaid., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, HUMAN HEALTH, particulate matter, Applied Math & Statistics, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Environmental Monitoring, Health Effects, Physical Processes, Environmental Statistics, Ecological Risk Assessment, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, EPA Region, Ecological Indicators, particulates, risk assessment, ecological effects, monitoring, asthma, atmospheric particulate matter, health risk analysis, watersheds, emissions monitoring, ecological health, ozone , particulate, stratospheric ozone, human health effects, ozone, sediment transport, airborne particulate matter, computer models, exposure, air pollution, chemical transport modeling, chemical transport, trend monitoring, environmental health effects, air pollutant-induced pulmonary inflammation, statistical models, human exposure, ecological risk, water, ecosystem health, environmental indicators, PM, ecological models, aersol particles, chemical transport models, Region 5, data models, modeling studies, air quality, statistical methodology, human health risk, stochastic models

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829402    Center for Integrating Statistical and Environmental Science

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829402C001 Detection of a Recovery in Stratospheric and Total Ozone
    R829402C002 Integrating Numerical Models and Monitoring Data
    R829402C003 Air Quality and Reported Asthma Incidence in Illinois
    R829402C004 Quasi-Experimental Evidence on How Airborne Particulates Affect Human Health
    R829402C005 Model Choice Stochasticity, and Ecological Complexity
    R829402C006 Statistical Approaches to Detection and Downscaling of Climate Variability and Change