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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014 Jan;217(1):95-101. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.03.015. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Children living near chipboard and wood industries are at an increased risk of hospitalization for respiratory diseases: a prospective study.

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Unit of Epidemiology & Medical Statistics, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, Italy. Electronic address:


Pollutants emitted from wood processing factories may be harmful to the health of the population. The aim of this prospective cohort study was to evaluate whether proximity to wood factories was associated with the risk of hospital admissions in children living in the Viadana district (Italy), where two big chipboard industries and other smaller wood factories (sawmills, multi-strata layer manufacturing) are located. In 2006, children (3-14 years) living in the Viadana district were surveyed through a parental questionnaire (n=3854), their home/school addresses were geocoded and the distances to the wood industries were calculated. Hospital discharge records for the years 2007-2009 were obtained. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate the association between hospitalization rates and distance to the factories, adjusting for sex, age, nationality, parents' education, exposure to passive smoking and reported traffic near home. During the 3-year follow-up, the risk of hospitalization for all diagnoses (Hospitalization Hazard Ratio, HHR=1.55; 95% CI: 1.24-1.95) and for respiratory diseases (HHR=1.80; 95% CI: 1.14-2.86) was greater in the children living close (<2 km) to the chipboard industries, with respect to the children who lived at ≥2 km from any wood factory. The children living close to the smaller wood factories were also at increased risk of hospitalization for respiratory diseases (HHR=1.74; 95% CI: 1.06-2.85). This study highlights a health problem for the children living close to chipboard and wood factories in the Viadana district. Further research should develop accurate exposure models based on objective measurements of air pollution in order to confirm these findings.


Adolescent; Air pollution; Cohort study; Hospitalization; Respiratory tract; Wood industries

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