Dust exposure and respiratory health amongst children in the environmental disaster zone of Karakalpakstan, Central Asia: Preliminary findings of the ASARD project

S. L. O'Hara, G. F.S. Wiggs, J. Wegerdt, J. Van Der Meer, I. Small, D. Falzon, R. Hubbard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The drying up of the Aral Sea has been described as the most staggering environmental disasters on the 20th Century. Over the last 40 years over 33,000 km2 of the former sea bed have been exposed creating a significant dust source. It is widely believed, but little researched, that increased dust storm activity in the region has had a major impact on health. In this paper we report the preliminary findings of a year long study into the link between dust exposure and respiratory health amongst children in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, located immediately down wind of the Aral Sea. The findings indicated that dust deposition rates across the region are high with sites located on the delta being the worst effected. However, there is an apparent inverse relationship between total dust exposure and respiratory health. Analysis of grain size indicated that dust deposited at sites located on the delta is predominantly of local origin. Although dust deposition rates away from the delta region are lower, the dust is predominantly of non-local origin and is considerably finer with high levels of PM10. These data indicate that the physical and chemical nature of the dust rather than the total amount is a more important. However, the links are likely to be far more complex, with other confounding factors such as nutritional status and socio-economic disadvantages being of considerable importance as well.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Health Risk
EditorsD. Fajzieva, C.A. Brebbia
PublisherWIT Press
Pages71-82
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)1853128759
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventFirst International Conference on the Impact of Environmental Factors on Health Risk, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RISK 2001 - Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 200112 Sep 2001

Conference

ConferenceFirst International Conference on the Impact of Environmental Factors on Health Risk, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RISK 2001
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityCardiff, Wales
Period10/09/0112/09/01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)

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