Respiratory hospital admission risk near large composting facilities.

TitleRespiratory hospital admission risk near large composting facilities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDouglas P, Bakolis I, Fecht D, Pearson C, Sanchez MLeal, Kinnersley R, de Hoogh K, Hansell AL
JournalInt J Hyg Environ Health
Date Published03/2016

BACKGROUND: Large-scale composting can release bioaerosols in elevated quantities, but there are few studies of health effects on nearby communities.

METHODS: A cross-sectional ecological small area design was used to examine risk of respiratory hospital admissions within 2500m of all 148 English large-scale composting facilities in 2008-10. Statistical analyses used a random intercept Poisson regression model at Census Output Area (COA) level (mean population 310). Models were adjusted for age, sex, deprivation and tobacco sales.

RESULTS: Analysing 34,963 respiratory hospital admissions in 4656 COAs within 250-2500m of a site, there were no significant trends using pre-defined distance bands of >250-750m, >750-1500m and >1500-2500m. Using a continuous measure of distance, there was a small non-statistically significant (p=0.054) association with total respiratory admissions corresponding to a 1.5% (95% CI: 0.0-2.9%) decrease in risk if moving from 251m to 501m. There were no significant associations for subgroups of respiratory infections, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

CONCLUSION: This national study does not provide evidence for increased risks of respiratory hospital admissions in those living beyond 250m of an outdoor composting area perimeter. Further work using better measures of exposure and exploring associations with symptoms and disease prevalence, especially in vulnerable groups, is recommended to support regulatory approaches.

Alternate JournalInt J Hyg Environ Health
PubMed ID27061055