Public Health Consultation

Appendix B: Statistical Summary from Dr. Carpenter's Preliminary Dresden (NY) Comparison

"The SPARCS data from the NYS Department of Health contains information about all of the diseases identified in every inpatient in state-regulated hospitals in New York (all but federal hospitals like the VA). This information is available to us with the age, sex, race and zip code of residence for each patient. Therefore we compared the rates of hospitalization for respiratory diseases in the six zip codes near the plant (14441, 14527, 14415, 14891, 14837 and 14878) to those in the "clean" zip codes reported in our previous studies (Seergev and Carpenter, Environm Health Perspect 113:756: 2005. This is not the perfect control, since these "clean" zip codes are those in upstate New York that do not contain any hazardous waste site on the state superfund list, which does not exclude coal-fired power plants. However it is the comparison group we have easily available. All calculations were based on rates of hospitalization diagnosis per 100,000 persons. After standardizing by age for the whole population, the incidence rate in the "clean" zip codes for chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was 0.0078, while that in the six zip codes was 0.0109, this being 41% higher and statistically significant. The results for ages 0-54 years were not significantly different. For age 55-64, the rate in the "clean" zip codes was 0.0130, while that for the six zip codes was 0.0224 (72%) higher), for ages 65-74, 0.0346 for the "clean", and 0.0456 for the six (32% higher) and for age over 75 years 0.0614 for the "clean" and 0.0884 for the six (44% higher). All of these results were statistically significant. When we investigated all forms of infectious respiratory disease (which includes the two above), for all ages the rate was 0.0141 in the "clean" zip codes, and 0.0193 in the six (37% higher and statistically significant). There was a statistically significant elevation both in the ages listed above, and also in age 0-24 years, where the rate in the "clean" zip codes was 0.0036, as compared to 0.0055 (a 53% elevation). This result probably reflects respiratory infections primarily in young children. The elevation in hospitalization rates in the six zip codes was true for both men and women. We also investigated the effects of race, but there were too few minorities in the population to give any significant effects for races other than Caucasian."

David O. Carpenter, M.D.
Institute for Health & the Environment