Bad air days

Study shows ER admission rates, pollution levels rise together

Children’s asthma-related emergency-room visits in the San Joaquin Valley rise with air-pollution levels. That’s the conclusion of a year-long study conducted by the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at CSU Fresno, which took a close look at the relationship between fine particulate levels and hospital visits in Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto, according to media sources.

Nationwide studies have previously found a connection between hospital admission rates and pollution levels, but this study is the first to use San Joaquin Valley-specific data.

The study estimated children suffering from asthma make 1,596 extra hospital visits a year due to high fine-particulate levels, with each of those visits costing an average of $1,500. The study revealed admission rates remained high even on days that met the federal air-quality standard of 35 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter.

The study also showed an increase in ER visits for children with pneumonia and adults with asthma and cardiovascular problems.