Air Quality, Particulate Matter, And Geographic Characterization In A Potential Asthma Prone Region Of Eastern Central Puerto Rico
Free (open access)
R. Suro-Maldonado, A. Gonzalez & A. Rivera-Rentas
Asthma is a rapidly growing worldwide chronic disease with an increase in both prevalence and exacerbations throughout the late twentieth century. Air pollution and asthma in the Caribbean are a major environmental health issue and a costly public health concern. CDC reports showed that Puerto Rico had a significantly higher overall prevalence of lifetime (19.6%) and current (11.6%) asthma in the US. The central eastern region of the island has the highest prevalence in the age range 0-17. This work examines ambient air measurements of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), coupled with the spatial variations between rural and urban areas to study the relationship between air quality, anthropogenic activities, natural resources, and asthma occurrence. We sampled in the 11 communities of the municipality of Caguas, five (5) classified as urban districts and six (6) as rural areas. Our results indicate that on average the urban districts presented higher particulate matter concentrations than the rural areas. These higher concentrations in the urban districts may have anthropogenic origins while results from rural areas may have geomorphologic bases. Our results also revealed particulate matter concentrations at some areas and at certain time periods that were above the US National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The latter may be related to the high asthma prevalence reported for the municipality. Keywords: air quality, particulate matter, asthma, forests, Puerto Rico. 1 Introduction Asthma is a rapidly growing worldwide chronic disease with an increase in both prevalence and exacerbations throughout the late twentieth century, with
air quality, particulate matter, asthma, forests, Puerto Rico.