Absentee and Economic Impact of Low-Level Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone Exposure in K-12 Students

07/16/2020 ∙ by Daniel L. Mendoza, et al. ∙ 0

High air pollution levels are associated with school absences. However, low level pollution impact on individual school absences are under-studied. We modelled PM2.5 and ozone concentrations at 36 schools from July 2015 to June 2018 using data from a dense, research grade regulatory sensor network. We determined exposures and daily absences at each school. We used generalized estimating equations model to retrospectively estimate rate ratios for association between outdoor pollutant concentrations and school absences. We estimated lost school revenue, productivity, and family economic burden. PM2.5 and ozone concentrations and absence rates vary across the School District. Pollution exposure were associated with as high a rate ratio of 1.02 absences per ug/m^3 and 1.01 per ppb increase for PM2.5 and ozone, respectively. Significantly, even PM2.5 and ozone exposure below regulatory standards (<12.1 ug/m^3 and <55 ppb) was associated with positive rate ratios of absences: 1.04 per ug/m^3 and 1.01 per ppb increase, respectively. Granular local measurements enabled demonstration of air pollution impacts that varied between schools undetectable with averaged pollution levels. Reducing pollution by 50 would save 452,000 per year districtwide. Pollution reduction benefits would be greatest in schools located in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. Exposures to air pollution, even at low levels, are associated with increased school absences. Heterogeneity in exposure, disproportionately affecting socioeconomically disadvantaged schools, points to the need for fine resolution exposure estimation. The economic cost of absences associated with air pollution is substantial even excluding indirect costs such as hospital visits and medication. These findings may help inform decisions about recess during severe pollution events and regulatory considerations for localized pollution sources.



There are no comments yet.


page 24

This week in AI

Get the week's most popular data science and artificial intelligence research sent straight to your inbox every Saturday.