An initial assessment of spatial relationships between respiratory cases, soil metal content, air quality and deprivation indicators in Glasgow, Scotland, UK: relevance to the environmental justice agenda

Morrison, S., Fordyce, F.M. and Scott, E.M. (2014) An initial assessment of spatial relationships between respiratory cases, soil metal content, air quality and deprivation indicators in Glasgow, Scotland, UK: relevance to the environmental justice agenda. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 36(2), pp. 319-332. (doi:10.1007/s10653-013-9565-4) (PMID:24203260) (PMCID:PMC3938858)

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Abstract

There is growing interest in links between poor health and socio-environmental inequalities (e.g. inferior housing, crime and industrial emissions) under the environmental justice agenda. The current project assessed associations between soil metal content, air pollution (NO2/PM10) and deprivation and health (respiratory case incidence) across Glasgow. This is the first time that both chemical land quality and air pollution have been assessed citywide in the context of deprivation and health for a major UK conurbation. Based on the dataset ‘averages’ for intermediate geography areas, generalised linear modelling of respiratory cases showed significant associations with overall soil metal concentration (p = 0.0367) and with deprivation (p < 0.0448). Of the individual soil metals, only nickel showed a significant relationship with respiratory cases (p = 0.0056). Whilst these associations could simply represent concordant lower soil metal concentrations and fewer respiratory cases in the rural versus the urban environment, they are interesting given (1) possible contributions from soil to air particulate loading and (2) known associations between airborne metals like nickel and health. This study also demonstrated a statistically significant correlation (−0.213; p < 0.05) between soil metal concentration and deprivation across Glasgow. This highlights the fact that despite numerous regeneration programmes, the legacy of environmental pollution remains in post-industrial areas of Glasgow many decades after heavy industry has declined. Further epidemiological investigations would be required to determine whether there are any causal links between soil quality and population health/well-being. However, the results of this study suggest that poor soil quality warrants greater consideration in future health and socio-environmental inequality assessments.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scott, Professor E Marian
Authors: Morrison, S., Fordyce, F.M., and Scott, E.M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Publisher:Springer Netherlands
ISSN:0269-4042
ISSN (Online):1573-2983
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Environmental Geochemistry and Health 36(2):319-332
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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