Joya Correia, M.D., M.P.H.

Joya Emilie M Correia, a former endocrinologist, is a researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine of the University of São Paulo in Brazil. She is also a consultant to the City of São Paulo’s Environmental Secretary and to various local non-governmental organizations. Dr. Correia served as Counselor to Brazil’s Environmental Secretary from 1996 to 1999 in issues related to environmental health.

She was awarded the Irving J. Selikoff Scholarship in the year 2002 to evaluate variations in peak expiratory measurements associated with air pollution. She worked with Luz Claudio, PhD on her research project. Her research interests include the study of the public health impact of exposure to environmental pollutants, such as organochlorides, metals, pesticides, thms, and air pollution.

Institutional Affiliation

Department of Preventive Medicine of the
University of São Paulo Medical School

Mailing Address

Departamento de Medicina Preventiva
Facultad de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo
Av. Dr. Arnaldo 455 – Room 2254
Cerqueira Cesar – Sao Paulo SP
CEP 01246-903

E-mail Address

Irving J. Selikoff Scholarship Project

Variations in Lung Function Associated with Exposure to Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution, and Immunological Status of Children and Adolescents in Sao Paulo City, Brazil

Air pollutants have been documented to be associated with a wide variety of adverse health impacts in children. These include increased mortality (including perineonatal mortality), acute respiratory disease morbidity, prevalence of respiratory symptoms in children, increased sickness rates as indicated by kindergarten and school absences and lowered lung function in children when pollutants increase. These impacts are especially severe when high levels of outdoor pollution are combined with high levels of indoor pollution. Air pollution is likely to have a greater impact on asthmatic children.

Although the role played by outdoor pollutants in allergic sensitization of airways has yet to be elucidated, it is well established that outdoor pollution exacerbates respiratory symptoms in atopic subjects. The airway mucosal damage and the impaired mucociliary clearance induced by air pollution may facilitate the penetration and the access of inhaled allergens to the cells of the immune system, and so promote airway sensitization. As a consequence, an enhanced immunoglobulin E-mediated response to aeroallergens and enhanced airway inflammation favored by air pollution could account for the increasing prevalence of allergic respiratory diseases in urban areas (D’Amato 2002).

In order to investigate whether the association between exposure to urban air pollution and decreases in lung function is different for children/adolescents who are sensitized than for those who are not, the present study is proposed.

Students will perform lung function tests every school day for a period of 4 months. In order to diagnose which students are allergic, blood samples will be collected for IgG, IgM and IgE dosage, as well as red and white cell counts. Feces samples for investigation of parasitic infestation, nasal cytology to detect the presence of inflammatory cells, and skin prick test to identify sensitization to common allergens will also be recorded. Air samples from the homes and school classes will be collected by vacuum pump and culture plates. Parents/guardians will answer a questionnaire to characterize respiratory and allergic history. Air pollution data will be provided by the state monitoring station.

Partial Bibliography

Davis DL, Saldiva PHN, Ahmed AK, Correia JEM, Miraglia S, Bandhari R, et al. Urban air pollution risks to children: a global environmental health indicator. World Resources Institute. Washington (DC); 1999. (Environmental Health Notes).