Background: Winter temperature inversions—layers of air in which temperature increases with altitude—trap air pollutants and lead to higher pollutant concentrations. Previous studies have evaluated associations between pollutants and emergency department (ED) visits for asthma, but none have considered inversions as independent risk factors for ED visits for asthma.
Methods: We obtained electronic records of ED visits for asthma and data on inversions, weather, and air pollutants for Salt Lake County, Utah, during the winters of 2003 through 2004 to 2007 through 2008. We identified 3,425 ED visits using a primary diagnosis of asthma. We used a time-stratified case-crossover design, and conditional logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to estimate rate ratios of ED visits for asthma in relation to inversions during a 4-day lag period and prolonged inversions. We evaluated interactions between inversions and weather and pollutants.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has long been known as an outdoor lover’s utopia. The skiing and mountain biking are among the best anywhere. And the snow-clotted mountains that tower around Salt Lake give this city a mythic quality during winter.
But lately, the Wasatch Front, the corridor of cities and towns where most Utahans live, has acquired a reputation for a less enviable attribute: bad air.
For the last few years, the area has been grappling with one of the nation’s most vexing pollution problems, where atmospheric inversions during the winter months lead to a thick fog of dirty air cloaking the region.
“Obviously, this is not acceptable,” said Bryce Bird, the director of Utah’s ...
WASATCH VALLEY, Utah– The ugly brown snow that fell over much of Utah last week got everybody’s cars dirty. But it can also have an impact on spring runoff from the Wasatch Mountains.
McKenzie Skiles, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Utah studies the effects of windblown dust and air pollution on winter snowfall. Dust and soot make the snow darker, so it absorbs more sunlight and melts faster, she explained.
Utah’s polluted urban air also includes black soot that colors the...