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Heat island in São Paulo, Brazil: Effects on health

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The increase in air temperature in urban regions in relation to neighbouring rural areas is known as the ‘heat island effect'. This study mapped the distribution of the heat island of São Paulo, Brazil, and compared three sample areas. Mortality and morbidity data were collected to assess the role of the excess temperature. A correlation was found between the intensity of the heat island and annual mortality rates associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The analysis of daily mortality data and air temperature data, however, led to the conclusion that, despite evidence of the heat island's influence on mortality and hospital admissions, there is no specific temperature increase pattern that could be considered as the main cause of health risks. Cultural and biological adaptation may play an important role in the health of the populations of tropical cities.
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Keywords: Heat island; São Paulo; thermal comfort; thermal pollution; tropical city

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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