Open Access Research

Risk assessment of PM2.5 to child residents in Brazilian Amazon region with biofuel production

Beatriz Fátima Alves de Oliveira1*, Eliane Ignotti23, Paulo Artaxo4, Paulo Hilário do Nascimento Saldiva5, Washington Leite Junger6 and Sandra Hacon1

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health and Environment Post-graduation, National School of Public Health at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2 Department of Nursing, State University of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso, Brazil

3 Institute of Public Health, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso, Brazil

4 Institute of Physics, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

5 Laboratory of Experimental Air Pollution, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil

6 Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Environmental Health 2012, 11:64  doi:10.1186/1476-069X-11-64

Published: 14 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Exposure to fine fractions of particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with increased hospital admissions and mortality for respiratory and cardiovascular disease in children and the elderly. This study aims to estimate the toxicological risk of PM2.5 from biomass burning in children and adolescents between the age of 6 and 14 in Tangará da Serra, a municipality of Subequatorial Brazilian Amazon.

Methods

Risk assessment methodology was applied to estimate the risk quotient in two scenarios of exposure according to local seasonality. The potential dose of PM2.5 was estimated using the Monte Carlo simulation, stratifying the population by age, gender, asthma and Body Mass Index (BMI).

Results

Male asthmatic children under the age of 8 at normal body rate had the highest risk quotient among the subgroups. The general potential average dose of PM2.5 was 1.95 μg/kg.day (95% CI: 1.62 – 2.27) during the dry scenario and 0.32 μg/kg.day (95% CI: 0.29 – 0.34) in the rainy scenario. During the dry season, children and adolescents showed a toxicological risk to PM2.5 of 2.07 μg/kg.day (95% CI: 1.85 – 2 .30).

Conclusions

Children and adolescents living in the Subequatorial Brazilian Amazon region were exposed to high levels of PM2.5 resulting in toxicological risk for this multi-pollutant. The toxicological risk quotients of children in this region were comparable or higher to children living in metropolitan regions with PM2.5 air pollution above the recommended limits to human health.

Keywords:
Particulate matter; Biomass burning; Risk assessment; Health effects; Children; Adolescents and Brazilian Amazon