APH 2005, 63, 219-226:

Incidence of Episodes of Wheezy Bronchitis in Children living near the Iron and Steel Factory from Cãlãrasi.

AC. Câra, F.Buntinx

Keywords: none

Background: During daily clinical work as a GP in Cãlãrasi, Rumania, a large number of wheezing cases was observed in children living in the vicinity of a large Iron, Steel and Coke factory. In children under 10 years old who are living in this area with heavy industrial pollution, incidence of episodes of wheezing was found to be much higher compared to other regions in Romania.

Objective: To investigate the incidence of episodes of wheezing in children. To assess the relation of occurrence of episodes of wheezing with the distance to the factory, smoking habits of the parents, a family history of allergy and the presence of mouldiness in the houses.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study including 1500 children under ten years old living in this area. The area was stratified in three zones, according to the distance from the factory gate, each zone having a
length of about 1 kilometre. All children were followed during a period of 5 years (1993-1997).

Results: The percentage of children with at least one episode of wheezing was 41.3%, in zone I (nearest to the factory), 47.3% in zone II, and 42.1% in zone III (at the largest distance). From 656 children with
wheezing, 13% in zone I, 18.8% in zone II, and 15% in zone III had more than two attacks in this period. Of 1461 children the other risk factors were studied as well. The relative risk of wheezing in children with smoking parents was 1.52 (95%CI = 1.35-1.70), with mouldiness in the houses 1.41 (95%CI = 1.25-1.60) and with a family history of allergy 1.08 (95%CI = 0.86-1.35).

Conclusions: The high incidence of episodes of wheezing in children does not drop within a distance of three kilometres (1.875 miles) from the factory, that is a known main source of pollution. Smoking parents and mouldiness in the houses were additional risk factors.