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Health Dept. Releases  Air Quality, Asthma, and Cancer Rates

As the City of Jasper and the Concerned Citizens of Dubois County group provide information to the public on the proposal to convert the Jasper Municipal Utility’s coal fueled electric plant to burn biomass, the Dubois County Health Department is providing the following data on asthma rates, cancer rates, and air quality for Dubois County.

Air monitoring has been conducted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in Dubois County since the late 1970s, with a monitor located at the Jasper Post Office.  Two additional monitoring sites were established from 2006-2008 to provide additional information concerning local air quality.

The Daily National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter (PM2.5) prior to 2007 was 65ug/m3.  Since 2007, the standard has been 35ug/m3.  The Daily 98th percentile value, which is taken from all of the available data for the year, indicates there has been no exceedance for the last 10 years.
2000 – 40.0
2001 – 39.0
2002 -  36.3
2003 – 39.5
2004 – 30.0
2005 – 41.2
2006 – 31.6
2007 – 32.0
2008 – 27.2
2009 – 24.7
2010 -  27.2

The particulate monitor located at the Jasper Post Office currently operates every 3 days.  The non-attainment designation has not been lifted for Dubois County, but is expected this year.   IDEM will submit a final updated redesignation request to the U.S EPA in March 2011.  Final approval of redesignation will likely come in July with an effective date 30-60 days following publication of the final notice of approval for redesignation.  The redesignation should be effective around September/October 2011.
SOURCE:   Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana PM 2.5 Summary (2000-2010) Daily Design Value report.

The State of Indiana does not have an asthma registry, therefore hospital and Emergency Department visits are used as a measure for asthma prevalence.  The data does not capture all those with asthma who do not visit the ED or become hospitalized, but it is the most complete data available at this time.

As reported by Indiana Hospital Association, in 2007, asthma accounted for 7,327 hospitalizations with asthma documented as the main diagnosis. The age-adjusted hospital discharge rate was 11.44 per 10,000 persons in Indiana.   Indiana’s asthma hospitalization rate had been relatively steady from 2002 to 2005 (12.8 per 10,000 to 13.2 per 10,000).  Indiana’s asthma hospitalization rate was lower than the national rate.  The Dubois County rate is 9.4
In Indiana in 2005, there were 28,472 emergency room visits. The age-adjusted emergency room visit rate was 46.9 per 10,000 persons in Indiana.  The age-adjusted asthma ED rate per 10,000 Indiana residents was 39.2.  The age adjusted asthma ED rate per 10,000 for Dubois County was 21.0

Asthma hospitalization rates for residents 5-64 years have remained relatively constant since 2002, ranging from 9.3 to 11.2 per 10,000.

SOURCE:  The Indiana State Department of Health’s Asthma Program and the Indiana Joint Asthma Coalition compiled The Burden of Asthma in Indiana: Second Edition (January 2008)

Cancer is a significant public health issue in terms of personal pain and suffering, increased medical costs, premature deaths, and loss of productive years of life. Cancer is the second leading cause of adult deaths in Indiana, following heart disease. Increased early detection and improved treatment protocols are changing the face of cancer. Depending on the type of cancer and the stage at diagnosis, cancer can be cured or become a chronic illness. Survival rates continue to increase, with a 63% national five-year survival rate for all cancers combined.

Death Rate for All Cancer Sites – 2003-2007
                                Indiana                    199.4
                                US                             183.8
                                Dubois County     170.6

Incidence Rate for All Cancer Sites – 2003-2007
                                Indiana                   473.1
                                US                            464.5
                                Dubois County     418.5

Death Rate for Lung and Bronchus Cancer – 2003-2007
                                Indiana                    62.6
                                US                             52.5
                                Dubois County      45.1   

Incidence Rate for Lung and Bronchus cancer – 2003-2007
Indiana                    79.7
US                             68.0
Dubois County      54.8

Incidence Rate for Colon Cancer – 2004-2008
                                Indiana                     51.2
                                Dubois County      40.5

Incidence Rate for Brain Cancer – 2004 - 2008
                                Indiana                       6.7
                                Dubois County      10.4

Incidence Rate for Leukemia – 2004-2008
                                Indiana                     12.2
                                Dubois County      14.6

SOURCE:  Data provided through the State Cancer Profiles from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control, the Indiana Cancer Control Plan and the Indiana Cancer Registry.

Donna C. Oeding, Administrative Director
Dubois County Health Department
1187 South St. Charles Street
Jasper, IN 47546
812-481-7069 (fax)

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