Health and the City: Urban Congestion and Air Pollution in Brazil

Marcos A. Rangel, Duke University
Romina Tome , Duke University

Congestion of urbanized centers is a trademark accompanies of economic development across the globe. These economic forces pose a challenge with respect to environmental conditions and, therefore, welfare for populations in those areas. Nevertheless, the evidence to inform policy-makers in the developing world is still scarce. In this paper, we take advantage of the meteorological phenomenon of thermal inversion which in urban areas arguably exogenously lock pollutants closer to the ground to estimate the causal effects of pollution on infants health at birth. We employ detailed data from birth records around the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo, Brazil, between 2002 and 2009. Our preliminary results confirm a positive relationship between thermal inversions and several air pollutants and suggest that exposure during the last three months of pregnancy to thermal inversions has a negative effect on health at birth.

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 Presented in Session 234. Climate Change and Population Health