Desarrollo y Sociedad
Print version ISSN 0120-3584
DAVALOS ALVAREZ, Eleonora. Not so sweet sugar cane. Desarro. soc. [online]. 2007, n.59, pp. 117-164. ISSN 0120-3584.
There have been many studies on the relationship between air pollution and respiratory health, but these have usually been conducted in large cities of developed countries, where pollution is associated to mobile and fi xed-source emissions. This study was conducted in a small Colombian city of fewer than 300,000 residents, but with substantial air pollution from sugar cane burning. To establish how sugar cane burning relates to respiratory health, a lineal function was used to describe the relationship between controlled sugar cane burns and the concentration of particles less ten microns (PM10), and a concentration-response function to relate the concentration of PM10 and the occurrence of respiratory disease. The relationship between burning and PM10 concentration was estimated with a least-square model, while a Poisson model described the relationship between PM10 concentration and disease occurrence. Both estimates used daily time series data between February and June for each variable. A positive association between sugar cane burns and the concentration of pollutants was found, as well as a positive relationship between concentrations of pollutants and the number of daily hospital admissions for acute respiratory illnesses (ARI). These analyses document for the fi rst time the effects of controlled sugar cane burns on public health in Colombia.
Keywords : acute respiratory illnesses; air pollution; public health.