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Respiratory Health Symptoms among Students Exposed to Different Levels of Air Pollution in a Turkish City

   Gul, Hulya; Gaga, Eftade O.; Dogeroglu, Tuncay; Ozden, Ozlem; Ayvaz, Ozkan; Ozel, Sevda; Gungor, Gunay

In this study, we aimed to investigate the frequency of respiratory health symptoms among high school students attending schools at industrial, urban and rural areas in a Turkish city. Three schools located in different zones of the city having different pollution characteristics were chosen based on the pollutant distribution maps using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software. A cross-sectional survey was performed among 667 high school students in the schools. Outdoor and indoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O-3) concentrations were also measured by passive samplers in the same schools to investigate possible routes of exposure. Chronic pulmonary disease (OR = 1.49; 95% CI: 1.11-1.99; p = 0.008), tightness in the chest (OR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.22-2.02; p = 0.001), morning cough (OR = 1.81 95% CI: 1.19-2.75; p = 0.006) were higher among students in the industrial zone where nitrogen dioxide and ozone levels were also highest. There were no indoor sources of nitrogen dioxide and ozone exists in the schools except for the dining hall. As a conclusion, this study has noticed that air pollution and respiratory health problems among high school students are high in industrial zones and the use of passive samplers combined with GIS is an effective tool that may be used by public health researchers to identify pollutant zones and persons at risk.

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