Effect of Air Pollution on Respiratory Health in Indonesia and Its Economic Cost

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ABSTRACT.A total of 16,663 pairs of junior high school students and their mothers in Indonesian cities were surveyed, using a self-administered questionnaire, to measure the effect of air pollution on respiratory health and the cost of associated illness. Multiple regression analysis showed that the prevalence rates of the symptoms of cough, phlegm, persistent cough, wheezing without a cold, and asthma, in the student and mother groups, were significantly correlated with the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emitted along large roads near their residences, and to a lesser extent with smoking. In Central Jakarta and Tangerang, where the average NO2 concentrations were highest (37 ppb and 31 ppb, respectively), reduction of NO2 to a proposed level of 25 ppb could yield savings in mean direct out-of-pocket expense per capita for treatment of the above symptom(s) of 15,639-18,165 Indonesian rupiah (US$ 6.80-7.90), and reduce average work/school days lost per capita by 3.1-5.5 days.

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