Open Access

EXPOsure: Milan, May 1st- October 31st 2015

  • Gian Vincenzo Zuccotti1,
  • Marco Morelli2,
  • Marco Sala3,
  • Giorgio Bedogni4 and
  • Valentina Fabiano1Email author
Italian Journal of Pediatrics201541:58

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13052-015-0167-x

Received: 16 April 2015

Accepted: 4 August 2015

Published: 14 August 2015

Abstract

The city of Milan is experiencing the great event of EXPO 2015 and heavy construction has been ongoing since 2012 over an area of more than 1 million meters squared in the north-west suburban area of the city. We compared the number of hospital admissions for upper and lower respiratory tract infections (URTI and LRTI) and acute asthma, in infants and children aged between 0 and 13 years from 2011 to 2014 in two Pediatric Departments, one near and one far from the EXPO construction area. Hospital admission frequencies resulted to be similar in the two Pediatric Departments.

Dear Editor,

It has been reported that particulate air pollution in urban areas may be responsible for human respiratory diseases [1, 2]. Children are among the most susceptible subjects.

The city of Milan is experiencing the great event of EXPO 2015 and is has undergone profound urban changes within the exhibition area. Heavy construction has been ongoing since 2012 over an area of more than 1 million meters squared in the north-west suburban area of the city. Such a large construction area is expected to produce anthropogenic emissions (particulate matters with aerodynamic diameters <2.5 mm (PM2.5) and 2.5-10 mm (PM2.5–10) possibly increasing the health risk for people living in the nearby.

We compared the number of hospital admissions for upper and lower respiratory tract infections (URTI and LRTI) and acute asthma, in infants and children aged between 0 and 13 years from 2011 to 2014, in the Pediatric Department of Luigi Sacco Hospital of Milan, the nearest hospital to the EXPO construction site, with URTI, LRTI, and asthma admissions from 2011 to 2014 in infants and children 0–13 years, in the Pediatric Department of Tradate Hospital, located in the Varese area, nearly 40 km distant to the EXPO construction site.

Hospital admission frequencies were 34 % in 2011, 29 % in 2012, 29 % in 2013,z and 31 % in 2014 in Luigi Sacco Hospital, and 39 % in 2011, 37 % in 2012, 37 % in 2013, and 35 % in 2014 in Tradate Hospital. The trend of the number of admissions in the years 2012–2014, after the establishment of the EXPO construction site, respect to 2011, before the opening of the construction site, showed a decrease, which is comparable in both hospitals (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1

Hospital admission frequencies 2011–2014 for respiratory infections and asthma in Luigi Sacco Hospital and Tradate Hospital. URTI (Upper Respiratory Tract Infection), LRTI (Lower Respiratory Tract Infection)

This evidence is contrasting with an increased rate of hospital admissions for respiratory diseases in children as the result of exposure to air pollutants associated with the establishment of the EXPO construction site.

We did not conduct an air analysis for presence of particulate matters and cannot speculate on; nevertheless, these data are reassuring as regard the human health consequences possibly associated with such a great construction site.

With these data in mind, we are even more proud that Milan is the city of EXPO 2015.

Declarations

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital V. Buzzi, Università degli Studi di Milano
(2)
Department of Pediatrics, Luigi Sacco Hospital, Università degli Studi di
(3)
Department of Pediatrics, Tradate Hospital
(4)
Liver Research Center, AREA Science Park

References

  1. Pope III CA. Epidemiology of Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Human Health: Biologic Mechanisms and Who’s at Risk? Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108:713–23.PubMed CentralView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Schwarze PE, Øvrevik J, Låg M, Refsnes M, Nafstad P, Hetland RB, et al. Particulate Matter Properties and Health Effects: Consistency of Epidemiological and Toxicological Studies. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2006;25:559–79.Google Scholar

Copyright

© Zuccotti et al. 2015

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