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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Feb 1;70(3-4):261-5.

Urban air pollution and respiratory emergency visits at pediatric unit, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

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Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica-ASL di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy.


Short-term effects of air pollution on daily mortality and hospital admissions for respiratory causes are well documented. Few studies, however, explore the association between exposure to air pollution and daily emergency room visits for respiratory disorders, particularly in Italy and particularly among children as a susceptible population. A time-series analysis was conducted to explore the short-term association between air pollutants (PM10, total suspended particulates [TSP], NO2, SO2, CO, O3) and pediatric emergency room (ER) visits in a small city of northern Italy, Reggio Emilia, during the period 03/01/2001-03/31/2002. There were 1051 ER visits included in the study. Data were analyzed using generalized additive models (GAM), adjusting for various confounding variables, including temperature, humidity, and pollens (Graminaceae). The analyses were also stratified according to the nationality of children (Italians and foreigners). In single-pollutant models, the strongest associations were observed at lag 3 for a 10-microg/m3 increase of TSP (2.7% increase in ER, 95% CI 0.7-4.6) and PM10 (3.0% increase, 95% CI 0.4-5.7), and at lag 4 for a 10-microg/m3 increase of NO2 (11.0% increase in ER, 95% CI 3.6-18.8). At lag 3, the percentage increase in ER visits is similar for the 2 groups of children (Italians and foreigners) for TSP and PM10. The results of the study support the findings that air pollution is a relevant determinant of deterioration of respiratory health among children.

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