New York City’s late summer/early fall 2000 mosquito spraying session, designed as an effort to minimize the spread of West Nile virus, did not increase the number of people seeking emergency care for asthma-related problems, according to a study published today in the August issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). The study found no correlation between the application of sumithrin—a pyrethroid pesticide—in the 162 residential zip codes sprayed between July and September 2000 and asthma-related symptom cases presenting at the city’s 11 public hospital emergency departments.
Researchers evaluated rates of emergency department visits over a 14-month period. The study also incorporated air quality data, including daily measures of ozone, air particulates, and temperature, which can cause fluctuations in the number of people seeking treatment for asthma. .All zip codes in New York City were included in the study, except those in Staten Island, which lacks a public hospital.
The number of visits was similar in the 3-day periods before and after spraying. The researchers also looked specifically at incidents in children under 15 years and for aggravation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. No correlation to spraying was found in either group.
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