Clustering of Asthma Prevalence Around
Industrial Complexes
in Southcentral Detroit and Dearborn by GIS Method
Jaymie Meliker (Department of Environmental and Industrial Health-EIH, School of Public Health-SPH, University of Michigan-UM), Jerome Nriagu (EIH, SPH, UM), Kathryn Savoie (Environmental Health Program, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services-ACCESS, Dearborn), Adnan Hammad (ACCESS), Jamil Hikmet (ACCESS), and Jeffrey M. Devries (Oakwood Hospital, Dearborn)
Read the Abstract
                                Background Information about Asthma
                    Two Primary Sources of Patient and Industrial Data
                  8300 cases of asthma, over a 5 year period, reported to Oakwood Hospital
                  9 industries in region surrounding Oakwood Hospital, according to Toxics Release Inventory


More about Methodology

                                                   Location of Industries

These are 11 of the top 20 polluting industries in Wayne county, according to EDF's scorecard.
One other industry, Allied Signal Inc. is located on Zug Island. That industry is believed to be causing
the high prevealence in the darkest red block group in the map below.  Power plants and municipal
incinerators do not submit pollution data for the Toxics Release Inventory.  Those polluters have not
been fully explored.

                                                    Asthma Prevalence


As can be seen from the above map, asthma prevalence per block group correlates quite well
with the locations of the major industrial polluters.  The white block groups in the map are block
groups where ESRI does not have information about the block group population.

                        Locations of Oakwood Hospital and ACCESS

Oakwood Hospital is not situated directly adjacent to the block groups which have high asthma
prevalence.  This indicates that the location of the hospital is not adversely biasing the data.
Detroit has the largest Arab American population in the United States.  ACCESS is an Arab
community center located near the heart of the Arab community.  This is relevant for two reasons:
1) Census data does not have a separate race category for Arabs and 2) ACCESS is located
close to some of the block groups with the highest asthma prevalence.

           Correlation Between African Americans and Asthma Prevalence

The correlation between African Americans and Asthma Prevalence is not strong. In general,
there are low numbers of African Americans throughout the areas served by Oakwood Hospital.

        Correlation Between Median Value of a Home and Asthma Prevalence

In general, there is a high correlation between areas of high asthma prevalence and areas where
there is low median value of a home (0-$58,700).  This is not surprising since lower income
communities are frequently subject to environmental pollution and other factors which can lead to
poorer health.

Correlation Between Census-Defined "Other Ethnicities" and Asthma Prevalence

The census defines other ethnicities as immigrants, who are not yet considered Americans. Interestingly,
this map looks the same as the map portraying African Americans (2 maps above).  Similarly, this map
shows a negative correlation between areas of high prevalence and areas of high Immigrants.

 Directions of Future Research