- In 2006 and 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency provided $50,000 in funding to the Louisiana Asthma Initiative primarily to examine the relationship between ozone levels in the Baton Rouge area and emergency room visits related to asthma.
- As part of the grant, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality provided data on ozone and particulates from April 2006 through March 2007 for both East Baton Rouge and Point Coupee Parishes. Two Baton Rouge emergency room departments provided data for the same duration of time. Pt. Coupee Parish also agreed to provide data from their hospital emergency room departments, federally qualified health clinics in the area, and the Parish’s urgent care weekend clinic.
- Results of the study showed no direct correlation between ozone or particulate matter readings measured and problems associated with asthma in the emergency departments.
- Furthermore, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital’s 2007 report, “Health Risks among Louisiana adults, 2004-2006”, shows greatest prevalence of asthma in the rural parishes of north-central Louisiana. Also seen in this report is the fact that prevalence of asthma in Louisiana is lower than the U.S. national average.
Project Funding and Objectives
The LAI is currently engaged in a $50,000 project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Three objectives of the project are to:
- Establish a surveillance collaborative that will access emergency department data from two hospitals located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and monitor asthma trends as the relate to environmental triggers.
Why Baton Rouge?
- Baton Rouge demographics and a high percentage of the population living below the poverty level.
- Baton Rouge rants 16th with the worst ozone air pollution in the U.S.
- Due to high ozone levels, the greater Baton Rouge area has been classified as a severe non-attainment area by the Department of Environmental Quality since June 2003.
EPA Project Objectives
- Develop a multidisciplinary team approach using multiple data sets to conduct assessments which will correlate air quality and environmental triggers with emergency room visits in the Baton Rouge area.
- Develop a report that describes a burden of asthma among children in Baton Rouge area that includes recommendations for an integrated surveillance system documenting formalized procedures for data sharing.