Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Epidemiology and Population Health

Degree Program

Epidemiology, MSE

Committee Chair

Zierold, Kristina

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Baumgartner, Kathy

Committee Member

Baumgartner, Kathy

Committee Member

Lorenz, Douglas

Committee Member

Hanchette, Carol

Author's Keywords

fly ash; coal fly ash and asthma; coal fly ash and children


This study examined the association between exposure to coal ash in the home among children aged 6-14 and asthma. Data was collected using personal modular impactors, lift tape samples, toe/finger nail samples, questionnaires, and peak flow meters. Laboratory methods used to analyze the samples included gravimetric analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) / energy dispersive x-ray (EDX), and proton-induced x-ray emission (PIXE). Statistical methods used to analyze the data included the Chi Square Test of Independence, logistic regression, the Hosmer-Lemeshow Goodness of Fit test, Fisher’s Exact Test, and the Anderson-Darling Normality Test. Sample size was small, making statistical significance in calculated values unachievable. Though statistical results were not significant, it was suggested that a relationship between asthma risk and exposure was possible. In particular, it was noted that male participants averaged lower peak flow values when compared to the pediatric norm. It was also noted that mean residential distances from the studied power plants were lower in asthma cases than for non-asthma cases. Although results are preliminary and findings were inconsistent, asthma prevalence within the study group was high, compared to the national average in children and requires further study.

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Epidemiology Commons