Follow-up of schoolchildren in the vicinity of a coal-fired power plant in Israel

Ayana Goren, J. R. Goldsmith, S. Hellmann, S. Brenner

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This study was carried out in the framework of a health monitoring system set up in the vicinity of a 1400 megawatt coalfired power plant in Israel. Second- and fifth-grade schoolchildren were followed up every 3 years; they performed pulmonary function tests (PFT), and their parents filled out American Thoracic Society-National Heart and Lung Institute health questionnaires. Among the cohort of second graders (in 1983) living in the area expected to be most polluted, a significant increase in the prevalence of part of the respiratory symptoms (such as cough and sputum, wheezing with and without cold and wheezing accompanied by shortness of breath) was evident in 1986. The prevalence of asthma among fifth graders in this area doubled (p = 0.0273) compared with prevalence when they were second graders. Among the children from the older cohort (fifth graders in 1983) living in this community, a similar although milder trend could be observed, especially in regard to an increased prevalence of asthma in 1986 compared with 1983 (13.9% versus 8.1%). Annual increases in PFT in the four groups of children (boys and girls from both cohorts) were found to be higher in the community expected to be polluted (especially in the younger cohort) compared with the two other communities. The discrepancy between the increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms and diseases and the higher annual increase in PFT among children from the expected more polluted community may be partly attributable to differential annual increase in height and to different distribution of background variables (such as socioeconomic status, passive smoking, heating, and respiratory diseases among parents) in the three communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
StatePublished - 1991


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