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Air Pollution and Health in Kamalapur

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Kamalapur: Ambient particulate matter pollution and child respiratory health in Dhaka



1.  Evaluate the associations between ambient fine particulate matter and child respiratory infection in Dhaka

2.  Identify the sources of pollution that drive these associations



Pneumonia is the leading cause of child death worldwide. Air pollution by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been associated with increased risk of pneumonia in children, but few studies have explored these links in South Asia—a region with over 40% of annual pneumonia cases and declining ambient air quality. The sources of PM2.5 in South Asia are also different from those in other parts of the world, ranging from coal-burning brick kilns to lead-acid battery recycling operations.

We aimed to define the relationship between PM2.5 and child respiratory infection, including pneumonia, in the South Asia context.  By identifying the industries that drive these associations, we hope to identify potential levers for reducing emissions with maximum benefit to child health.


Project dates

November 2017 – August 2020


Stage of Work

We partnered with two local research institutions to merge over ten years of data on child clinic visits and ambient air pollution in Dhaka: The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh and the Atomic Energy Centre, Dhaka. Using time series analyses, we found that higher ambient PM2.5 mass was associated with a modest increase in incidence of pneumonia (but not upper respiratory infection), with a peak effect occurring two days after exposure. This association was even stronger among days when ambient PM2.5 had a higher percentage of particles generated by brick kilns and lead-acid battery recycling plants.

Continued research in the Luby Lab has focused on the specific role of brick kiln emissions in driving respiratory health, as well as the impact of improved ventilation on indoor PM2.5 concentrations in a low-income community of Dhaka.



Primary Contact:  Allison Sherris

Stanford University

.   Stephen Luby, PI; Associate Dean for Global Health; Director of Research, Center for Innovation in Global Health (CIGH)

.   Allison Sherris, PhDc, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), Stanford University

.   Michael Baiocchi, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

.   W. Abdullah Brooks, Associate Scientist

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry:  Department of Public Health Sciences

.   Philip K. Hopke

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), Dhaka, Bangladesh

.   Bilkis A. Begum 

Atomic Energy Centre, Dhaka (AECD)

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Dhaka, Bangladesh

.   Doli Goswami