Effects of heavy industrial pollution on respiratory function in the children of Cubatao, Brazil: a preliminary report

Environ Health Perspect. 1991 Aug;94:51-4. doi: 10.1289/ehp.94-1567962.


Under a cooperative agreement between New York University and the Environmental Protection Agency, and in collaboration with the University of Sao Paulo (USP), a study is ongoing in Cubatao, Brazil, to try to establish exposure-response relationships on the impact of specific industrial effluents on respiratory function in school-age children. Cubatao, located on the coast about 44 km from the city of Sao Paulo, is surrounded by U-shaped mountains (approximately 800 m) covered with subtropical forests. Its area is approximately 160 km2, and it has a population of approximately 90,000. The geography is such that it causes a consistent diurnal land-sea breeze pattern and the opposite during the night, with low dispersion of the air pollutants. In a small area (approximately 40 km2) against the mountains there is a concentration of over 20 large plants: oil refinery; iron and steel mill; fertilizer, cement, and gypsum production; coke kilns; and chemical, paint, and many other ancillary plants. During the 1988 school year, March through June, August through November, 600 six-year-old children, attending six different kindergarten schools, underwent monthly spirometry tests. Because the children live within a 500 m radius of their school, pollution monitors were located on each of the six schools. Particles were collected using dichotomous stacked filter units placed on 20 m towers to reduce the influence of dust from unpaved roads. The units use different pore size filters for coarse, 2 to 10 microns, and fine particles, (dp) less than 2 microns, and took separate samples for day and nighttime.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Spirometry


  • Air Pollutants