Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
MORAES, Ana Claudia Lopes de et al. Wheezing in children and adolescents living next to a petrochemical plant in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2010, vol.86, n.4, pp. 337-344. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572010000400015.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between wheezing in children and adolescents and living downwind of the dispersion plume of atmospheric pollutants emitted by the Guamaré Petrochemical Complex, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of wheezing in children and adolescents (aged 0 to 14 years) living in the vicinity of the Guamaré petrochemical complex in 2006. The standardized International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire was used, with additional questions concerning tobacco use, income, living conditions, and educational achievement. Daily concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, black carbon, SO2, NO2, O3, benzene, toluene, and xylenes were measured at a fixed monitoring station. According to their position relative to wind direction, communities present in the area affected by plant emissions were categorized into one of two groups, exposed communities and reference communities. RESULTS: Two hundred and nine children and adolescents took part in the study. Mean daily concentrations of the monitored pollutants were consistently below established acceptable upper limits. The prevalence of wheezing in the 12 months prior to study was 27.3%. After adjustment, statistically significant associations were found between wheezing and living in exposed communities (adjusted odds ratio [ORadj] 2.01; 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.01-4.01), male gender (ORadj 2.50; 95%CI 1.21-5.18), and age 0 to 6 years (ORadj 5.00; 95%CI 2.41-10.39). CONCLUSION: Even with low levels of atmospheric pollutants, respiratory symptoms in children and adolescents were associated with living downwind of a petrochemical plant. Male preschoolers were the most vulnerable group.
Keywords : Wheezing; children; adolescents; air pollution; petrochemicals.