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Community-Based Empirical Research




This study examines the effects of PM2.5 on lung health in elementary school students and collegiate distance runners in Carlisle, PA, where PM2.5 levels are known to be among the worst in the country due to trucking, regional coal emissions, topography, and weather. Elementary schools in the Carlisle Area School District recorded supervised use of inhalers for asthmatic children. This data was compared to hourly PM2.5 concentrations starting in September 2009 through March 2010. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) values were also measured and self-reports of respiratory symptoms were collected from 31 distance runners at Dickinson College. This study found no correlation of inhaler usage with PM2.5 exposure among the elementary school students. Similarly, there were no clear trends shared by all the runners. A longer-term study of inhaler usage among the asthmatic elementary school students in the Carlisle Area School District may provide more conclusive results.


Advisor: Professor Gregory Howard