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Abstrakt

Air Pollution in Poland – Condition, Causes and Effects. In the recent years the air in Poland seems to be the most polluted in Europe (it is worse only in a few times smaller Bulgaria). The concentration of particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), represented by benzo(a)pyrene are among the highest in European Union countries. They are highly toxic, especially PAHS, which damage the hematopoietic system, accumulate in living organisms leading to a cancerous process, they cause damages to the central nervous system and infertility. It is estimated that high air pollution causes 45-47 thousands premature deaths in Poland every year, as well as growth frequency of allergies and chronic diseases. Polish society loses about 520,000 potential years of life, and the economy of 18.5 million work days. It’s a very high price. The weather determines to a large extent the air pollution. The smog episode is usually accompanied by low wind speed or atmospheric silence, reduction of visibility and thermal inversions. However, the biggest problem is low emission, which is mainly related to individual heating of buildings (78-87% of the total emission of benzo(a)pyrene. The reasons for such poor sanitary condition of the air in Poland are complex and to a large extent they result from spatial chaos and lack of spatial planning, but also from general policy country. The most important reasons are i.a.: the lack of a planning policy and a sustainable transport policy, persistent subsidies for unprofitable coal mines, the lack of a policy promoting renewable energy sources and “clean” technologies, high gas price (the highest in Europe) and no subsidies for the poorest, scattered buildings which hinders access to system heat, inefficient and unsuitable transport based on road transport road and individual cars (often old, Diesel) etc.
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Abstrakt

Background: Air pollution is a severe problem in Poland, with Kraków area being among the regions with the worse air quality. Viral croup or pseudocroup is a common childhood disease that may manifest with severe upper respiratory tract obstruction. Our aim was to evaluate the associations between incidence and severity of viral croup symptoms among children living in Kraków area, Poland, and air pollution. Methods: Th e retrospective cross-sectional study included Kraków area residents <18 years of age admitted to the Emergency Department of St. Louis Children Hospital in Kraków, Poland over 2-year period. Daily mean concentrations of air pollutants: particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitric oxides (NOx), carbon oxide (CO), sulfur dioxide, ozone, and benzene were retrieved from public database of measurements performed at three local stations. Numbers of cases of viral croup per week were correlated with weekly mean concentrations of air pollutants. Mean air temperature was treated as a cofactor. Results: During the studied period, mean concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, and NOx exceeded the allowable levels (yearly means) specifi ed by Polish law regulations. Signifi cant positive correlations of moderate strength were observed between weekly mean concentrations of most air pollutants, especially PM10, PM2.5, CO and benzene, and numbers of cases of viral croup recorded per week, confi rmed in the analysis restricted to non-holiday period and to winter months only. Th e correlations between NOx, CO, benzene and croup prevalence were independent of temperature in non-holiday period. Conclusions: Our results support adverse impact of air pollution on children’s respiratory health.
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