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Air Quality Awareness Among U.S. Adults With Respiratory and Heart Disease

  • Maria C. Mirabelli
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Maria C. Mirabelli, PhD, MPH, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE Mailstop F-60, Atlanta GA 30341][issn]/$36#36.00$06#?>$^doi_string?>
    Affiliations
    Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Tegan K. Boehmer
    Affiliations
    Health Studies Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Scott A. Damon
    Affiliations
    Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Kanta D. Sircar
    Affiliations
    Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Hilary K. Wall
    Affiliations
    Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Fuyuen Y. Yip
    Affiliations
    Environmental Public Health Tracking Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Hatice S. Zahran
    Affiliations
    Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Paul L. Garbe
    Affiliations
    Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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      Introduction

      Poor air quality affects respiratory and cardiovascular health. Information about health risks associated with outdoor air quality is communicated to the public using air quality alerts. This study was conducted to assess associations of existing respiratory and heart disease with three aspects of air quality awareness: awareness of air quality alerts, discussing with a health professional strategies to reduce air pollution exposure, and avoiding busy roads to reduce air pollution exposure when walking, biking, or exercising outdoors.

      Methods

      During 2014–2016, a total of 12,599 U.S. adults participated in summer waves of the ConsumerStyles surveys and self-reported asthma, emphysema/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and each aspect of air quality awareness. In 2017, associations between each health condition and air quality awareness were estimated using log binomial and multinomial regression.

      Results

      Overall, 49% of respondents were aware of air quality alerts, 3% discussed with a health professional strategies to reduce air pollution exposure, and 27% always/usually avoided busy roads to reduce air pollution exposure. Asthma was associated with increased prevalence of awareness of air quality alerts (prevalence ratio=1.11, 95% CI=1.04, 1.20), discussing with a health professional (prevalence ratio=4.88, 95% CI=3.74, 6.37), and always/usually avoiding busy roads to reduce air pollution exposure (prevalence ratio=1.13, 95% CI=1.01, 1.27). Heart disease was not associated with air quality awareness.

      Conclusions

      Existing respiratory disease, but not heart disease, was associated with increased air quality awareness. These findings reveal important opportunities to raise awareness of air quality alerts and behavior changes aimed at reducing air pollution exposure among adults at risk of exacerbating respiratory and heart diseases.
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