Estimating asthmatic children exposure and dose to air pollutants in an urban industrialized area

Name: Davi de Ferreyro Monticelli
Type: MSc dissertation
Publication date: 18/08/2020

Namesort descending Role
Jane Meri Santos Advisor *

Examining board:

Namesort descending Role
Davidson Martins Moreira Internal Examiner *
Elisa Valentim Goulart Co advisor *
Jane Meri Santos Advisor *
Jose Geraldo Mill External Examiner *
Neyval Costa Reis Jr. Internal Examiner *
Prashant Kumar External Examiner *

Summary: Asthma affects millions of people worldwide and there is substantial evidence that air pollution
exposure is associated with asthma prevalence. For children, the impact is aggravated because
their lungs are developing; they have higher ventilation rates and tend to be engaged in daily
physical activities. All this contributes to higher doses (also per body weight) than adults have in
the same exposed environment. In the Metropolitan Region of Vitoria (MRV), previous
epidemiological assessments showed that asthma prevalence among children is higher than the
national average. Furthermore, pollutants such as PM2.5 and SO2 impose different associated risks
of respiratory symptoms. Nevertheless, to this day no study in MRV approached the exposure and
dose of air pollutants at the individual level. Thus, in this work the author aims to address this gap
in corroboration with the ongoing project ‘ASMAVIX’. This study follows twenty-one children
from three different neighborhoods (thus three campaigns) in their daily activities. To establish
the methodology for exposure assessment a systematic review is proposed. The author observes
drawbacks in 102 papers and approaches children exposure using the best practices found. The
literature review also provides a list of opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for future
studies to estimate exposure and the associations between air pollutants and asthma prevalence.
In the concentration assessment of particles (PM10 and PM2.5) and gaseous pollutants (NOx, NO2,
and SO2) at children’s home, school and pathway, the author uses the dispersion model
CALPUFF, alongside with outdoor monitoring and personal samplers; all integrated with routine
aspects of participants. PM10 and PM2.5 indoor-outdoor (I/O) ratios are calculated (through indoor
measurements) and gases I/O derives from literature. This research results support that the correct
choice (or measurement of) indoor-outdoor ratios proved to be of significant importance in a
holistic exposure assessment, especially for particulate matter. Pathway exposition showed little
significance in this study approach, as revealed by sensitivity tests. The main environmental
factors interfering in dosage are proximity to sources, and time spent indoors. Physiological key
variables are the body mass index and ventilation minute. Thus, more research on I/O ratios on
different environment and inhalation rates of children with asthma would benefit future analysis
using the proposed method.

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