Winds of Fire and Smoke: Air Pollution and Health in the Brazilian Amazon

SWEEEP Webinar Series | 16 December 2020 at 3.00 PM (CET)

André Albuquerque, Sant’AnnaBrazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and Universidade Federal Fluminense

Enrica De Cian, Ca’ Foscari University Venice, Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change Foundation (CMCC),
RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE)


In this paper we assess the effects of fire-related smoke on population health in the Brazilian Amazon. Our empirical strategy is based on a municipality-by-month fixed effects model, coupled with an instrumental variables approach that explores wind direction and smoke in surrounding areas in order to exogenously shift exposure to smoke at the locality. We find that exposure to smoke, measured by PM2.5 concentration levels, is robustly associated with an increase in hospital admissions for respiratory conditions. The effects are higher among children and the elderly, and increase non-linearly with pollution levels. Our benchmark estimates indicate that an increase of one standard deviation in PM2.5 is related to an increase of 1.5% of the monthly hospitalization rate for respiratory
conditions. The latter estimate reaches 14% if monthly average PM2.5 crosses thresholds as high as 75µg/m3 . We do not observe significant effects on hospitalization rates related to other health conditions nor on mortality rates.



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Organized by:
RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE)

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