Asthma has great significance for us in Philadelphia because we have some of the highest rates of asthma in the country (26% in some neighborhoods). We know some of the environmental challenges that contribute to these high rates of asthma. The Philadelphia region has more air pollution than many other places. Philadelphia does not attain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulates and ozone. That means that we have days that have unhealthy levels of particulates and ozone. Particulates can irritate airways and sometimes particulates act as the vehicles to transport other chemicals deep into our lungs. At the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, we are doing research to help understand the ways that particulates and ozone affect health. Our goal is to reduce asthma and other health effects of air pollution.
The biggest sources of particulates in Philadelphia are transportation sources. These include cars, diesel trucks, buses, trains and planes. We all breathe the air but some people live, work or go to school in places where there are more sources of air pollution. Those who live near major roads or wait for the school bus can have larger exposures. Exercising outside on days when the ozone or particulate level in the air is high increases your exposure because you breathe more.
Do you want to receive information on air quality in Philadelphia?
All you need is a smart phone and the information will come to you. Visit www.enviroflash.info and sign up. You will receive information about the air quality in the Philadelphia region every day. You can use this information to plan your exercise and to be aware of days when air pollution can have an impact on your health.
If you would like to learn more about what we are doing at the University of Pennsylvania, please feel free to explore our website!
How to get involved?
The easiest way to stay involved is to follow the COEC at CEET on Twitter and Like Us on Facebook. We will post regular updates on events all around Philadelphia.
Also, feel free to download and distribute the Eight Tips to Help Your Child’s Asthma brochure created by the Pediatric Asthma Task Force of Delaware County (PATF) and the Community Outreach and Engagement Core at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology!
Interested in participating in research on asthma?
Our laboratories are consistently recruiting research subjects for a number of important studies in asthma and COPD. Visit the website http://www.med.upenn.edu/airways/, for more information.
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