Residential proximity to industrial sites has been associated with adverse effects on human health. Children are more susceptible to airborne environmental exposure because their immune and respiratory systems are still developing. This study aimed to investigate whether living close to an oil terminal in Genoa where there is higher VOCs exposure is associated with an increased rate of school absenteeism because of disease in primary school children. Five schools were chosen for the recruitment of children and students residing in the industrial site (A) were compared to those living in residential sites (B). Sixty-six of the 407 students involved in the project were also selected for VOC monitoring. Source apportionment was carried out by comparing profiles of VOCs; principal component analysis was performed to study the correlation between profiles, and Kriging interpolation model was used to extend profiles to all participants. The concentration means of total VOCs were significantly higher in the industrial areas compared to controls. Adjusting for potential confounders, children who lived in area A had a significantly higher risk of being absent from school due to sore throat, cough, and cold compared to controls. o-Xylene, which is dispersed during the industrial activity, showed clear evidence of a significant association with respiratory symptoms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)