J4.3 Health Effect of Dust Storms in West Texas, based on Different Air Quality Levels at Different Meteorological Conditions

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 2:00 PM
North 228AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Karin Ardon-Dryer, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX; and M. Brown, M. Kelley, G. Berdine, J. Dennis, and Y. Shengping

Dust storms are a common phenomenon in West Texas. During dust storm events, air quality decreases and the concentration of aerosol particles increases. These particles are capable of penetrating deep into our lungs, therefore causing health problems. The effect of dust storms on human health is unclear; while some studies have observed an increased risk of hospitalization due to dust storm days, particularly for asthma and respiratory syndromes, other studies have found no effect. Dust storms in West Texas can be generated due to different meteorological conditions, and the effect of these different conditions on air quality and health is not clear. In this work we are studying if dust storms in West Texas (focusing on Lubbock area) can affect human health. We are analyzing measurements of PM2.5 in addition to information from emergency room visits around dust storm events from January 2011 until January 2018. We are investigating the hypothesis that worse air quality due to dust storms in the Lubbock area would increase emergency room visits for respiratory problems. We hope to develop a predictive model to alert emergency rooms following dust storms.
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