To do so, we are conducting a retrospective cohort study of individuals who resided near the asbestos industry in Ambler, Pennsylvania during the 1930s-1940s. Using Census data, individuals are being classified by age, sex, occupation, income, source of residential drinking water, and residential location relative to the asbestos plant. We are accessing historic climate data to determine prevailing wind trends Ambler in the 1930s-1940s to estimate disproportionate exposure to plant exhaust downwind. Using data from the National Death Index and life tables, we are comparing the mortality of Ambler residents to their expected mortality (relative to matched controls).
The results of this study will provide valuable information about the range of mechanisms through which asbestos exposure occurs, the spatial distribution of health effects that result from these mechanisms, and a quantitative measure of mortality associated with asbestos exposure.
This project is overseen by Fran Barg and Doug Wiebe. Each trainee and team member is taking a lead role on a particular component of the wide range of specialized data collection and analytic efforts underway: Atu Agawu (observed vs expected survival analysis), Jiejun Xie, Lu Tian, and Simon Suo (directional mapping of hourly wind data), Shabnam Elahi (identifying 1930-1940 residents using Census and ancestry data), and Luke Basta (mapping and temporal autocorrelation of wind data).