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Residential Proximity to Airports and Health Impacts Essay (Critical Writing)

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Lin et al. (2008) sought to understand whether living close to airports raises the chances of being hospitalized from respiratory conditions as opposed to residing farther away. To realize this objective the authors conducted a cross-sectional study among residents who resided near “Rochester, LaGuardia and MacArthur” airports, all of which are in different cities in New York. The data comprised of hospital admissions of patients with respiratory conditions from the period between 1995 and 2000. The sample included children aged between 0-4 years among other members of the population. While the target population was to be located within 12 miles from the airports, the exposure to air pollutants was determined basing on whether individuals lived in areas within or beyond 5 miles. Moreover, Lin et al (2008) considered wind-flow patterns i.e. within or beyond 75 percentiles. The combined effect of wind-flow pattern and proximity to the airports was also determined.

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After calculating for hospital admission rates related to respiratory illnesses putting into consideration the exposure indicators for each airport, the authors found out that there were higher admission rates for residents who lived no more than 5 miles from all the airports as opposed to those who lived farther. The rates were highest for residents who lived near LaGuardia and least for residents who lived near MacArthur airport. The authors also noted that there was no positive relationship between hospital admissions from respiratory conditions and wind-flow patterns. Lin et al. (2008) therefore came into a conclusion that closeness to certain airports can lead to increased respiratory conditions and hospitalizations thereof. This is due to exposure to air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. The authors were cautious to advise that further research should be conducted to expound on factors leading to respiratory conditions related to proximity to airports since many factors contribute to this.


Lin, S. J., Munsie, J. P., Losavio-Herdt, M., Hwang, S. A. and Civerolo, K. et al., (2008). Residential proximity to large airports and potential health impacts in New York State. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 81:797–804.

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