Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Latest NonAttainment vs Asthma Rates

2012 Non Attainment Counties

The latest EPA Non Attainment results are in, based on the lowering of the 8 hour ozone average to 75 ppb in 2008.
San Antonio came close to non attainment with a 3 year average of 73 ppb. while the Dallas and Houston areas exceeded 75 ppb. If the 3 year average had dropped to 65 ppb. as proposed by the EPA, almost every city in Texas would be in non attainment. Check it out for yourself.

Over the next few weeks, I will be examining the non attainment regions and comparing their high ozone rates with current prevalence percentage asthma rates. Since high ozone is suppose to trigger and exasperate asthma, then there should be direct correlation between the non attainment regions and asthma rates.

Since I live in Texas, let's start with Region 6 as our first area for examination. Our data will come from the American Lung Association's latest report "Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality" from 2011. This is the same group that has given almost every large city in the country an "F" for air quality in their yearly "State of the Air" report. San Antonio, which is currently in attainment, consistently gets an "F" on our air quality...but that's another story!

According to the American Lung Association, 8.4% of the USA has been told that they have asthma. So, let's use that number as the average for asthma in this country and compare it with cities that are in non attainment, according to the EPA. Below is a list of cities in Region 6 that are in non attainment and their asthma rates.

1. Memphis, TN area:  7.0% Current Asthma Prevalence

2. Baton Rouge, LA:  7.3% Current Asthma Prevalence

3. Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX:  7.2% Current Asthma Prevalence

4. Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX:  6.2% Current Asthma Prevalence

So, as you can clearly see, the highest ozone regions in Region 6 have asthma prevalence rates that are below the nation average. The city with the highest asthma prevalence rate in this region is Lubbock, TX, with a 13.1% rate. Lubbock's air is so "ozone free" that the EPA doesn't even bother to monitor it.