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Revista de Saúde Pública

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IGNOTTI, Eliane et al. Impact on human health of particulate matter emitted from burnings in the Brazilian Amazon region. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.1, pp.121-130. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the impact on human health of exposure to particulate matter emitted from burnings in the Brazilian Amazon region. METHODS: This was an ecological study using an environmental exposure indicator presented as the percentage of annual hours (AH%) of PM2.5 above 80 μg/m3. The outcome variables were the rates of hospitalization due to respiratory disease among children, the elderly and the intermediate age group, and due to childbirth. Data were obtained from the National Space Research Institute and the Ministry of Health for all of the microregions of the Brazilian Amazon region, for the years 2004 and 2005. Multiple regression models for the outcome variables in relation to the predictive variable AH% of PM2.5 above 80 μg/m3 were analyzed. The Human Development Index (HDI) and mean number of complete blood counts per 100 inhabitants in the Brazilian Amazon region were the control variables in the regression analyses. RESULTS: The association of the exposure indicator (AH%) was higher for the elderly than for other age groups (β = 0.10). For each 1% increase in the exposure indicator there was an increase of 8% in child hospitalization, 10% in hospitalization of the elderly, and 5% for the intermediate age group, even after controlling for HDI and mean number of complete blood counts. No association was found between the AH% and hospitalization due to childbirth. CONCLUSIONS: The indicator of atmospheric pollution showed an association with occurrences of respiratory diseases in the Brazilian Amazon region, especially in the more vulnerable age groups. This indicator may be used to assess the effects of forest burning on human health.

Keywords : Hospitalization; Respiratory Tract Diseases; Air Pollutants; Wildfire; Ecological Studies; Fine Particulate Matter.

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