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Health effects of exposure to water-damaged New Orleans homes six months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Authors
Cummings-KJ; Cox-Ganser-J; Riggs-MA; Edwards-N; Hobbs-GR; Kreiss-K
Source
Am J Publ Health 2008 May; 98(5):869-875
NIOSHTIC No.
20033800
Abstract
Objectives. We investigated the relation between respiratory symptoms and exposure to water-damaged homes and the effect of respirator use in posthurricane New Orleans, Louisiana. Methods. We randomly selected 600 residential sites and then interviewed 1 adult per site. We created an exposure variable, calculated upper respiratory symptom (URS) and lower respiratory symptom (LRS) scores, and defined exacerbation categories by the effect on symptoms of being inside water-damaged homes. We used multiple linear regression to model symptom scores (for all participants) and polytomous logistic regression to model exacerbation of symptoms when inside (for those participating in clean-up). Results. Of 553 participants (response rate=92%), 372 (68%) had participated in clean-up; 233 (63%) of these used a respirator. Respiratory symptom scores increased linearly with exposure (P<.05 for trend). Disposable-respirator use was associated with lower odds of exacerbation of moderate or severe symptoms inside water-damaged homes for URS (odds ratio (OR)=.51; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.24, 1.09) and LRS (OR=0.33; 95% CI=0.13, 0.83). Conclusions. Respiratory symptoms were positively associated with exposure to water-damaged homes, including exposure limited to being inside without participating in clean-up. Respirator use had a protective effect and should be considered when inside water-damaged homes regardless of activities undertaken.
Keywords
Emergency-response; Hazardous-waste-cleanup; Health-hazards; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respirators; Region-6; Endotoxins; Bacteria; Risk-analysis
Contact
Kristin J. Cummings, MD, MPH, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Diseases Studies, Mail Stop 2800, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
CODEN
AJHEAA
Publication Date
20080501
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
cvx5@cdc.gov
Fiscal Year
2008
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
5
ISSN
0090-0036
NIOSH Division
DRDS; DSHEFS
Source Name
American Journal of Public Health
State
WV; OH; GA
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