Title: Air pollution and restricted activity days among New Zealand school children and staff

Authors: J. Gaines Wilson, Simon Kingham, Jamie Pearce

Addresses: Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas at Brownsville, 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, Texas 78520, USA. ' Department of Geography and GeoHealth Laboratory, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand. ' Institute of Geography, School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9XP, UK

Abstract: Particulate Matter (PM) air pollution has been associated with a variety of adverse health effects. However, the influence of exposure to particulate pollution on non-notifiable health outcomes such as individual-level restricted activity is less well understood. Days absent from work or school were collected for 2257 students and teachers at eight secondary schools in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mean levels of PM10 (PM less than 10 micrometers in diameter) for the study period were 42.7 μg m−3 at schools and 48.9 μg m−3 at a centrally located monitoring site. A significant (p < 0.05) association between PM10 and restricted activity days was found at schools for same-day and 1-day lags. The results presented in this paper suggest that there is a positive association between restricted activity and particulate matter air pollution even though the associations were not consistently statistically significant.

Keywords: restricted activity; air pollution; particulate matter; intraurban; wood smoke; air quality; New Zealand; school children; school staff; school absence; Christchurch.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2010.032250

International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 2010 Vol.41 No.1/2, pp.140 - 154

Published online: 17 Mar 2010 *

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