Addressing community concerns about asthma and air toxics.
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Addressing community concerns about asthma and air toxics.

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  • Alternative Title:
    Environ Health Perspect
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  • Description:
    People with asthma who live near or downwind from a source of toxic emissions commonly express concerns about the possible impact of hazardous air pollution on their health, especially when these emissions are visible or odorous. Citizens frequently turn to their local and state health departments for answers, but health departments face many challenges in addressing these concerns. These challenges include a lack of asthma statistics at the local level, limited exposure information, and a paucity of scientific knowledge about the contributions of hazardous air pollutants to asthma induction or exacerbation. Health agencies are creatively developing methods to address these challenges while working toward improving asthma surveillance data at the state and local levels. Recent community health investigations suggest that hazardous air pollutants that are occupational asthmagens or associated with odors may deserve more attention. In seeking to address community concerns about hazardous air pollution and asthma, community health investigations may also help to fill gaps in our scientific knowledge and identify areas for further research or environmental intervention. The solutions to community problems associated with environmental contamination and asthma, however, require sustained, coordinated efforts by public and private groups and citizens. Public health agencies can make a unique contribution to this effort, but additional resources and support will be required to develop information systems and epidemiologic capacity at the state and local levels.
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