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Summary

Following the promotion of anti-air pollution measures in steam power stations using crude oil, atmospheric concentrations of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and suspended particulates have declined. These changes in atmospheric concentrations were accompanied by a decline in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms among schoolchildren living near the power stations. In analysing the correlation between air pollutant concentrations and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, those with positive skin reactions to house dust extract (the positive group) showed a more significant correlation coefficient compared to those who had never had a positive skin reaction (the negative group). In addition, schoolchildren more heavily exposed to air pollutants showed the higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms than the others. With regard to the kind of air pollutants, both sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were more closely associated with the prevalence of respiratory symptoms than suspended particulates. This study has therefore demonstrated that the positive group is a useful population for monitoring the health effects associated with low-degree air pollution of gaseous agents.