Effects of Reduced Ambient PM10 Levels on the Health of Children in Lower-income Families

대기질 개선과 저소득계층 어린이 건강보호 효과

Bae, Hyun-Joo

  • Received : 2010.05.08
  • Accepted : 2010.06.22
  • Published : 2010.06.30


We examined the association of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < $10\;{\mu}m$ ($PM_{10}$) with asthma-related hospitalization, stratified by socioeconomic status (SES), among children less than 15 years of age in Seoul, Korea, between 2003 and 2005. In addition, we estimated the reduction in the number of asthma-related hospitalizations that would result from implementing the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline. SES was defined based on data concerning health insurance premium grades, and grouped into two levels: lower-income group and control group. The lower-income group was classified as having an accumulated income which did not exceed the 50th percentile of the median income. Time-series analysis was performed to evaluate the association between $PM_{10}$ and asthma-related hospitalization. The Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program was used to analyze the impact on children's health. Based upon an increase of $10\;{\mu}g/m^3$ of $PM_{10}$, the asthma-related hospitalization risk for the lower-income group was increased by 1.78% (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 0.79-2.78%), while the risk for the control group was increased by 0.83% (95% CI = 0.34-1.32%). Attaining the WHO guideline, relative to the concentration in 2007, would result in a reduction in asthma-related hospitalizations of 18 cases per 100,000 of the children population in the lower-income group, and 7 cases in the control group. The health benefits of improved air quality for children in the lower-income group were thus 2.5 times greater than for children in the control group. Our results show that the lower-income group is disproportionately burdened with asthma-related hospitalization arising from air pollution. Therefore, biologically- and socioeconomically-disadvantaged populations should be considered in public health interventions in order to protect the children's health.


lower-income family;children;air quality improvement;health benefits


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