Assessment of the effects of sugar cane plantation burning on daily counts of inhalation therapy

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2000 Oct;50(10):1745-9. doi: 10.1080/10473289.2000.10464211.


This study was designed to evaluate the association between sugar cane plantation burning and hospital visits in Araraquara in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. From June 1 to August 31, 1995, the daily number of visits of patients who needed inhalation therapy in one of the main hospitals of the city was recorded and used as health impairment estimation. Sedimentation of particle mass (the amount of particles deposited on four containers filled with water) was measured daily. The association between the weight of the sediment and the number of visits was evaluated by means of Poisson regression models controlled for seasonality, temperature, day of the week, and rain. We found a significant and dose-dependent relationship between the number of visits and the amount of sediment. The relative risk of visit associated with an increase of 10 mg in the sediment weight was 1.09 (1-1.19), and the relative risk of an inhalation therapy was 1.20 (1.03-1.39) on the most polluted days (fourth quartile of sediment mass). These results indicate that sugar cane burning may cause deleterious health effects in the exposed population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Brazil
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Humans
  • Incineration
  • Plants
  • Public Health
  • Respiratory Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Seasons
  • Weather