Background/aim Exposure to certain ambient pollutants negatively affects public health. Air pollution is particularly important in the development of respiratory diseases among children. The aim of our study was to analyse the level of air pollution in the major regional cities of the Republic of Belarus and its impact on the respiratory morbidity in children.
Methods Data on air pollution levels in the major regional cities in 2002–2014 (source: Republican Centre of Radiation Control and Environmental Monitoring (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus) and data on respiratory diseases cases (according to ICD-10) in adult and children (0–14) in these cities (in 2002–2014), source: Republican Scientific-Practical Centre of Hygiene) were analysed by methods of descriptive statistics, morbidity rates comparatives and correlation analysis (air pollution – morbidity of children respiratory diseases).
Results The peak concentrations of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen were typical for spring and summer, for phenol – in autumn and winter. In average daily maximum allowable concentrations were not exceeded. Data show the general trend for decreases in air pollutant emissions, with the exception of nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde. A number of positive correlations were revealed between children morbidity rates and the concentration of certain pollutants in the air. The rise in overall respiratory morbidity, chronic diseases of tonsils and adenoids was connected with the increase in the concentration of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. High rates of overall respiratory morbidity and pollinosis were associated with increased formaldehyde concentration.
Conclusion Study shows a significant correlation between exposure to air pollution and the frequency of respiratory diseases in children of regional cities of the Republic of Belarus. Revealed correlation coefficients between the morbidity and air pollutant concentrations can be used as a basis for further research to assess the impact of air pollutants on public health.
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