Relationship Between Distance of Schools from the Nearest Municipal Waste Incineration Plant and Child Health in Japan
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In Japan, the main source of dioxins is incinerators. This study examined the relationship between the distance of schools from municipal waste incineration plants and the prevalence of allergic disorders and general symptoms in Japanese children. Study subjects were 450,807 elementary school children aged 6–12 years who attended 996 public elementary schools in Osaka Prefecture in Japan. Parents of school children completed a questionnaire that included items about illnesses and symptoms in the study child. Distance of each of the public elementary schools from all of the 37 municipal waste incineration plants in Osaka Prefecture was measured using geographical information systems packages. Adjustment was made for grade, socioeconomic status and access to health care per municipality. Decreases in the distance of schools from the nearest municipal waste incineration plant were independently associated with an increased prevalence of wheeze, headache, stomach ache, and fatigue (adjusted odds ratios [95% confidence intervals] for shortest vs. longest distance categories =1.08 [1.01–1.15], 1.05 [1.00–1.11], 1.06 [1.01–1.11], and 1.12 [1.08–1.17], respectively). A positive association with fatigue was pronounced in schools within 4 km of the second nearest municipal waste incineration plant. There was no evident relationship between the distance of schools from such a plant and the prevalence of atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis. The findings suggest that proximity of schools to municipal waste incineration plants may be associated with an increased prevalence of wheeze, headache, stomach ache, and fatigue in Japanese children.
KeywordsFatigue Headache Incineration Japanese children Stomach ache Wheeze
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