Exposure to Fine Particles by Mine Tailing and Lung Function Effects in a Panel of Schoolchildren, Chañaral, Chile

DOI: 10.4236/jep.2015.62014   PDF   HTML   XML   3,147 Downloads   3,760 Views   Citations


There is much literature on the effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on respiratory and cardiovascular health. However, few studies have evaluated the impact of PM2.5 on a population living in the vicinity of a massive deposit of mine tailings. A longitudinal panel study was performed to evaluate the association between exposure to PM2.5 and acute effects on lung function in schoolchildren from November 2012 to May 2013. Ambient levels of PM2.5 and its metal composition were measured. Lung function was evaluated using spirometric testing. Associations were quantified using GEE multilevel analysis controlling for confounders by using different lag time periods. The chemical characterization of PM2.5 had high levels of S > Na > Cl > Ca > Si > Fe > Al > Mg > K > Cu > Ti > and Zn, which would be associated with metals present in tailings. We found a negative association between the temporal variation of PM2.5 and changes in lung function specifically on forced vital capacity. Our results suggest that schoolchildren exposed to fine particulate matter from tailings deposited in the bay of Chanaral have their forced vital capacity decreased, which would affect their present and future lung development, increasing the risk of developing chronic respiratory diseases.

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Vásquez, K. , Orellana, S. , Monsalve, S. , Vergara, J. , Zamora, C. , Muñoz, D. and Lillo, D. (2015) Exposure to Fine Particles by Mine Tailing and Lung Function Effects in a Panel of Schoolchildren, Chañaral, Chile. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6, 118-128. doi: 10.4236/jep.2015.62014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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