Introduction: Many childhood diseases and health conditions are due in part to such environmental risks as air pollution, water pollution, hazardous wastes, radiation, and climate change. In our research, we have brought the geographic perspective to air pollution and early childhood morbidities and related developmental origins of health and disease. While our research is ongoing, we wish to share resources with clinicians and the public.
Methods: Geographical Information Systems (GIS) helped us to define study population locations, identify potential pollution sources, assign exposure estimates, and analyze patterns of adverse birth outcomes co-located with industrial chemical emissions recorded in the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) database. We harnessed the power of visual storytelling through the web-based application ArcGIS StoryMaps to help create awareness of our pediatric environmental health research.
Results: We have created and curated environmental health maps and our current collection highlights air pollution from traffic and industry. We illustrate the spatial relationships of where one lives and the characteristics of air pollution sources that are within user-specified distances. Users can also explore the areas of chemical mixtures associated with adverse birth outcomes from the DoMiNO research.
Conclusion: We created interactive environmental health maps, highlighting NPRI data that can be used to illustrate the spatial relationships of where one lives and the characteristics of air pollution sources, chemical mixtures, and toxicant classifications that are within user-specified distances to any location in Alberta or major cities in Canada. We designed the online map collection as a preliminary knowledge translation tool for use by the Children’s Environmental Health Clinic. We hope that by expanding it and demonstrating its use to non-academic users that this may help effect change in public perceptions and influence opinions leading to environmental health policies that will reduce the perinatal exposure to modifiable environmental hazards.
Osnat Wine– PhD Candidate, University of Alberta
Lesley Brennan– ChEHC Coordinator, Children's Environmental Health Clinic
Irena Buka– Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta
Carl Amrhein– Provost and Professor, Aga Khan University
Alvaro Osornio-Vargas– Professor, University of Alberta