Spatial relationships among asthma prevalence, health care utilization, and pollution sources in neighborhoods of Buffalo, New York.

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* The spatial distributions of asthma cases in relation to major traffic corridors and the Peace Bridge Complex in Buffalo, New York, were assessed.

* Possible contributions of other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)-identified pollution sources also were considered.

* A statistically significant association was found between proximity to source and diagnosed asthma.

* Two-thirds of the asthma sufferers resided between 204 and 700 meters from pollution sources.

* One-third of the cases occurred in people who resided within 1 kilometer of major roadways.

* Over 40 percent who utilized health care for asthma lived within walking distance of the health care facility they patronized.

* Indices of lower socioeconomic status also were associated with increased asthma rates at zip code level.

* Nevertheless, the strongest association was with increase in commercial traffic.

* An increased prevalence of asthma on Buffalo's west side was not explained by the following:

-- socioeconomic status,

-- median household income,

-- education level,

-- race/ethnicity,

-- smoking status,

-- presence of household triggers such as pets, or

-- cockroaches.

* Identification of asthma clusters associated with different sources may provide insight into how mixtures of pollutants may interact and lead to development of asthma in susceptible individuals.

* The geographic distribution of asthma clusters near focus sites and busy roadways suggests that pollutants not only may be associated with worsening of symptoms but also may play a role in the etiology of asthma.

* Dispersion results from this study do not match most...

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