Center for Environment and Energy Research & Studies (CEERS)

Effects of industrial air pollution on the respiratory health of children

There is growing concern regarding to the possible effects of air pollution on respiratory health of children in Eleme industrial area of Port-Harcourt Nigeria. A total of 250 children were sampled from six primary schools with pre-nursery facilities for a period of 18 months. Subjects were divided into two zones (A and B), monitored and examined on weekly basis. The effects of four criteria pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide) on the respiratory health of the children were examined with reference to symptoms and diseases such as cough, cold, bronchitis, sinusitis and phlegm. Data were obtained from surveys of socioeconomic status of parents of subjects, three air monitoring stations and on-the-spot measurements of these pollutants and their association with symptoms and diseases analyzed. Results showed that there was a strong association between air pollution and symptoms and diseases among children. The effect was strongest among children below 2 years of age (adjusted OR = 3.5, 95%, CI 1.7-8.3) in the highly polluted zone than in the less polluted area. The higher the age of children, the lesser the susceptibility to these pollutants. These general results constitute a starting point for further research on long-term exposure to industrial air pollution and call for an urgent enforcement of regulatory standards to protect the most vulnerable groups in most of the growing metropolises of the country.

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