, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 517-525
Date: 10 Nov 2012

Impact of biomass burning and weather conditions on children’s health in a city of Western Amazon region

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Abstract

During the dry season in Brazilian Amazon, the population experiences severe smoke haze pollution in a region called “Arc of Devastation.” The increased pollution loading in the Amazonian atmosphere due to biomass burning emissions contributes significantly to global emissions of gases and particulate matter with important ecosystem and health impacts on local and regional populations. The aim of this study is to assess the lag structure among biomass burning air pollution exposure and environmental factors on children’s health in the municipality of Rio Branco, southwestern region of the Brazilian Amazon. In this paper, Poisson regressions via transfer function models were used and compared to polynomial distributed lag models to analyze the lagged and cumulative impacts of fine particulate matter and humidity exposure on daily demand of children’s hospital admissions due to respiratory causes from January 2004 to December 2009. Transfer function models presented better results. Increases of 10 μg/m3 in particles ≤ 2.5 μm/m3 aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) exposure were associated with 5.6 % (95 % CI, 3.64−7.31) increase in hospital admissions due to respiratory diseases at lag 2. Effects of PM2.5 were acute and slight “harvesting” was found. Results demonstrate the adverse impact of biomass air pollution on health in the population, highlighting the need for public efforts to reduce this source of air pollution.