Particulate Air Pollution and Health Effects for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Causes in Temuco, Chile: A Wood-Smoke-Polluted Urban Area

Sanhueza, Pedro A. - Torreblanca, Monica A. - Diaz Robles, Luis A. - Schiappacasse Poyanco, Luis - Silva, Maria P. - Astelle, Teresa D.
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Temuco is one of the most highly wood-smoke-polluted cities in the world. Its population in 2004 was 340,000 inhabitants with 1587 annual deaths, of which 24% were due to cardiovascular and 11% to respiratory causes. For hospital admissions, cardiovascular diseases represented 6% and respiratory diseases 13%. Emergency room visits for acute respiratory infections represented 28%. The objective of the study presented here was to determine the relationship between air pollution from particulate matter less than or equal to 10 mu m in aerodynamic diameter (PM10; Mostly PM2.5 or particulate matter <2.5 mu m in aerodynamic diameter) and health effects measured as the daily number of deaths, hospital admissions, and emergency room visits for cardiovascular, respiratory, and acute respiratory infection (ARI) diseases. The Air Pollution Health Effects European Approach (APHEA2) protocol was followed, and a multivariate Poisson regression model was fitted, controlling for trend, seasonality, and confounders for Temuco during 1998-2006. The results show that PM10 had a significant association with daily mortality and morbidity, with the elderly (population >65 yr of age) being the group that presented the greatest risk. The relative risk for respiratory causes, with an increase of 100 mu g/m(3) of PM10, was 1.163 with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.057-1.279 for mortality, 1.137 (CI 1.096-1.178) for hospital admissions, and 1.162 for ARI (CI 1.144-1.181). There is evidence in Temuco of positive relationships between ambient particulate levels and mortality, hospital admissions, and ARI for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. These results are consistent with those of comparable studies in other similar cities where wood smoke is the most important air pollution problem.

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