Environmental Journal Publishes UTEP Health Research

Posted: 8/4/11

El Paso’s children – especially girls – are at greatest risk for respiratory problems after a windy day in the region, according to results of a three-year study by researchers from The University of Texas at El Paso. The study recently was published in the journal Environmental Research.

The data showed that children in the area ages 1 to 17 were 33 percent more likely to be hospitalized for acute bronchitis after dust storms as compared to clear days. It also conveyed that girls were 83 percent more likely than boys to be hospitalized for the same reasons under the same conditions in this region, which is considered one of North America’s dust “hot spots.”

The results also found that low wind inversions increased the odds of hospitalization for asthma and acute bronchitis among adults and children of all ages. Low-income adults (those covered by Medicaid and those without health insurance) also had higher risks of hospitalization for asthma and acute bronchitis after dust storms and low wind inversions.

“This study really puts numbers behind what many El Pasoans already assumed, which is that wind conditions in this community impact our respiratory health. It is interesting that we are not all impacted the same,” said Sara Grineski, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and the project’s primary investigator. “What many of us, including the study team, did not realize was that these wind conditions impact boys and girls differently and that acute bronchitis was strongly related to dust storms.”  

Grineski’s research team members were UTEP professors Thomas Gill, Ph.D.; Joan Staniswalis, Ph.D.; and UTEP students Yanlei Peng and Priyangi Bulathsinhala. The study was done from 2007-10 using data from 2000-03.

The Southwest Consortium for Environmental Research and Policy, an arm of the Environmental Protection Agency, approved the study grant.

To read a copy of the abstract, visit

Info: Veronique Masterson, Public Information Officer, 915-747-7503


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