This work presents the results of a time series study relating air pollution and respiratory mortality in children under 5 years of age in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, Brazil. Daily records of mortality (excluding neonatal mortality) for the period May 1990 to April 1991 were collected along with daily records of relative humidity, temperature, SO2, CO, particulates (PM10), O3, and NOx concentrations. Using multiple regression methods we demonstrated a significant association between mortality due to respiratory diseases and the NOx levels. After controlling for weather and season effects, the odds of dying due to respiratory diseases, considering the mean levels of NOx in São Paulo, was estimated at 1.3 (+/- 0.13). This result is in accord with previous animal studies conducted by our group and indicates that air pollution in São Paulo has reached levels high enough to have adverse health effects on the exposed population.