A Systematic Review of Children's Environmental Health in Brazil

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Abstract

In the region of the Americas, approximately 100,000 children under the age of 5 years die each year due to environmental hazards. Brazil, due to its large size and wide range of environmental challenges, presents numerous hazards to children's health. The aim of this study was to systematically review the scientific literature that describes children's exposures to environmental pollutants in Brazil and their effects on Brazilian children's health. A systematic review of the scientific literature was performed without language restrictions and time of publication (years). The literature search was conducted in the following key resources: PubMed (MEDLINE), Scopus and Web of Science with the MeSH Terms: Environmental exposure AND Brazil (filters: Human, Child [birth to 18 years] and Affiliation Author). The Virtual Health Library was also employed to access the databases Scielo and Lilacs. The search strategy was [DeCS Terms]: Child OR adolescent AND Environmental exposure AND Brazil. Health effects in children associated with exposure to environmental pollutants in Brazil were reported in 74 studies, during the period between 1995 and 2015. The most frequently cited effect was hospital admission for respiratory causes including wheezing, asthma, and pneumonia among children living in areas with high concentrations of air pollutants. A broad spectrum of other health effects possibly linked to pollutants also was found such as prematurity, low birth weight, congenital abnormality (cryptorchidism, hypospadia, micropenis), poor performance in tests of psychomotor and mental development, and behavioral problems. Exposure to pesticides in utero and postnatally was associated with a high risk for leukemia in children <2 years old. These results show that there is a need in Brazil for stricter monitoring of pollutant emissions and for health surveillance programs especially among vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and young children.

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Froes Asmus, C. I. R., Camara, V. M., Landrigan, P. J., & Claudio, L. (2016, January 1). A Systematic Review of Children’s Environmental Health in Brazil. Annals of Global Health. Elsevier USA. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2016.02.007

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