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Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L) burning and asthma in Southeast Louisiana, USA

Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L) burning and asthma in Southeast Louisiana, USA

Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 68(2): 173-179

ISSN/ISBN: 0007-4861

PMID: 11815785

DOI: 10.1007/s001280235

The possible effects of sugarcane burning on asthma hospitalization in 6 parishes in Congressional district 3 in Louisiana, USA were determined. Daily hospital visitation data for 1998-99 were obtained from the Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. During the study period, there was 100% burning of sugarcane byproducts after cultivation. The sugarcane burning season starts in the middle of September and usually extends to January of the following year. During 1998-99, there were 6498 consultations with asthma as the primary diagnosis (mean 270.8 admissions/month; 56.97% females). When frequencies were standardized by person-years, infants had the highest rate of consultations (1639 visits) and children 5-10 years old had the 2nd highest rate of consultations (n=884 visits). The peak months for consultations were October-December (approx. 33.06% of admissions). The risk of asthma hospitalization increased in a dose-response fashion with increasing sugarcane burning during October-December. The monthly average asthma consultations were not significant during non-sugarcane burning months. Hospital consultations by asthma patients during October and November were significantly higher than the overall average of 270.8/month.

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Accession: 003953012

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