Date of Award

8-2020

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Advisor(s)

HAROLD W.KOHL

Second Advisor

MARY ANN SMITH

Third Advisor

ANNA VICTORIA WILKINSON

Abstract

Environmental exposures, especially air pollutants, pose a threat for an increase in asthma prevalence. In particular, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas can cause severe health effects closely resembling asthmatic symptoms. Ambient concentrations of H2S gas correlates with the amount of solid waste found in landfills. The potential for adverse health risks associated with H2S emitted from landfills is of concern for those populations living in close proximity to landfills. Asthma is one of the adverse health effects that can occur due to H2S exposure. However, there is a lack of detailed studies characterizing possible associations between the density of landfills and asthma prevalence in Texas. Understanding the potential exposure to landfills for Texas residents has public health implications. This proposed study examined the census tract-level association between landfill density and asthma prevalence in several urban areas in Texas. We hypothesized that census-tracts with the highest density of landfills had the highest prevalence of asthma. Population data was obtained from existing datasets from the 500 Cities Project, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the Municipal Solid Waste Sites and Landfills. This study used count regression models for data analyses, and found no definitive relationship between Texas landfills and asthma prevalence census-tracts. Findings from this study provides more information pertaining to landfills and asthma prevalence. These results may contribute to the already established Texas public health data and policies regarding landfill locations and potential health risks among neighboring populations; however, future research is needed to investigate further associations and exposure.

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