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Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jun;109 Suppl 3:347-50.

Air pollution and child mortality: a time-series study in São Paulo, Brazil.

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Laboratório de Poluição Atmosférica Experimental, Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


Although most available evidence relating air pollution and mortality was obtained for adults, pollution has been also associated with increased mortality in children, but in a significantly smaller number of studies. This study was designed to evaluate the association between child mortality and air pollution in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, from 1994 to 1997. Daily records of mortality due to respiratory diseases for children under 5 years of age were obtained from the municipal mortality information improvement program. Daily concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO(2)), carbon monoxide (CO), inhalable particulate matter less than 10 microm in diameter (PM(10)), and ozone were obtained from the state air pollution controlling agency. Information on minimum daily temperature and on relative humidity were obtained from the Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics of the University of São Paulo. Statistical analysis was performed through generalized additive models considering a Poisson response distribution and a log link. Explanatory variables were time, temperature, humidity, and pollutant concentrations. The loess smoother was applied to time (in order to model seasonality) and temperature. Significant associations between mortality and concentrations of CO, SO(2), and PM(10) were detected. The coefficients (and standard errors) of these three pollutants were 0.0306 (0.0076), 0.0055 (0.0016), and 0.0014 (0.0006), respectively. The observed associations were dose dependent and quite evident after a short period of exposure (2 days). According to the proposed model and considering the mean of the pollutant concentration during the period of the study, the estimated proportions of respiratory deaths attributed to CO, SO(2), and PM(10), when considered individually, are around 15, 13, and 7%, respectively.

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