Atmospheric pollutants in São Paulo state, Brazil and effects on human health – a review

  • Patricia Lopes Oliveira UNICAMP
  • Bernardino Ribeiro de Figueiredo UNICAMP
  • Arnaldo Alves Cardoso



Human exposure to atmospheric pollutants has been investigated in Brazil in relation to the air quality national standards. Air pollution originates from many different sources, such as industries, vehicles and even windblown dust and biomass burning. São Paulo State is an important industrial and agricultural center located in Southeastern Brazil. In São Paulo city and metropolitan area, vehicular traffic contributes to up to 89% of the pollution, being that some gases, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) play an important role in particulate formation. Periodical cane straw burning in the countryside is also responsible for emissions of particulate matter (PM) and gaseous compounds. Some pollutants at least double their concentrations during burning seasons, contributing up to 60% of fine inhaled particulate matter (PM2.5). According to the Technology and Environmental Company of São Paulo (CETESB) data, as well as other data from an academy and hospitals, the levels of air pollutants are increasingly affecting the population of São Paulo State in both urban and rural areas.

Keywords: air pollution; vehicles; biomass burning; health diseases; São Paulo State.