USC Environmental Health Centers

Current news, events and research projects of the Environmental Health Centers based at USC

NEW PUBLICATION AND STORYMAP: Agricultural Burning in Imperial Valley

USC Environmental Health

New research links agricultural burning to breathing problems in elementary school children in Imperial Valley, California. 

Imperial Valley is a highly productive agricultural region in southeastern California with among the highest rates of children's respiratory hospitalizations in the state. Agricultural burning, or the open burning or agricultural fields, is used throughout the region to rapidly clear crop residue after harvesting. This process releases pollutants like particulate matter into the air, which can cause respiratory problems in children and adults. 

As part of the Children's Assessing Imperial Valley Respiratory Health and the Environment (AIRE) Study, a collaborative school-based study led by Drs. Shohreh Farzan and Jill Johnston, in partnership with Comite Civico Del Valle, researchers found that children exposed to the most days of agricultural burning were more likely to experience wheezing and other respiratory symptoms. Links between living near agricultural burning and wheeze were strongest among children with asthma. 

Read the full results of the study led by Dr. Elizabeth Kamai here, and discover more about agricultural burning in Imperial Valley with our new StoryMap tool:

The AIRE Study is supported by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences:

  • R01ES029598,
  • R01ES02959804S1
  • 2P30ES007048

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