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A cross sectional analysis of air pollution’s impact of chronic respiratory disease in Ontario Duddek, Christopher Alan


Does ambient air pollution in Canada pose a threat to respiratory health? For a study initiated by Health Canada, we combined analyses of micro-level data from both the 1990 Ontario Health Survey with an environmental air monitoring system to obtain a quantitative answer to the question. In contrast to studies designed to collect special purpose data, the Ontario Health Survey was not designed to address respiratory health issues. In spite of this, this cross sectional database was rich enough for modelling. We used asthma and emphysema as the response variables in assessing the impact of four pollutants estimated for summer and winter. Two analyses were conducted for each response variable, one incorporating survey de sign information the other ignoring it. Age, income, smoker type and sex were significantly related to asthma at a a = 5% level of confidence in both analyses. None of the pollutant covariates figured in the model. Using the classical x2 test for nested models as the criterion, the emphysema model achieved a better fit than the asthma model. Smoker type and age, in particular, were strongly related to emphysema; income and number of cigarettes smoked were significantly but less strongly related; summer N2O was marginally significant, depending on which of the two analyses was considered.

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