Effects of ambient air pollution on pulmonary function among schoolchildren

Previous research has demonstrated adverse effects of ambient air pollution exposure on various asthma related outcomes in childhood. However, the associated evidence on pulmonary function effects is still inconsistent. During the present study, the authors undertook a population-based study comprised of seventh-grade children in 14 Taiwanese communities. Pulmonary function tests and questionnaires were completed on 3957 subjects. The effects of ambient air pollution exposures based on the data collected in 2005-2007 by existing air monitoring stations, were evaluated. Multiple linear mixed effect models were fitted to estimate the relationship between community pollutant levels and pulmonary function indexes. After adjustment for individual-level confounders, pulmonary function differed only slightly between communities with different levels of air pollution. The results showed greater effects of ambient air pollutants on pulmonary function for boys than for girls. Among boys, traffic-related pollutants CO, NOx, NO2, and NO were generally associated with chronic adverse effects on FVC and FEV1, and subchronic adverse effects mainly on maximal mid-expiratory flow (MMEF) and peak expiratory flow rate. Among girls, only NOx and NO2 showed subchronic adverse effects on MMEF. Although effect estimates of SO2, PM10, and PM2.5 were generally negative for boys, none achieved statistical significance. The authors concluded that the findings from this study suggests that ambient traffic-related pollution had chronic adverse effects on pulmonary function in schoolchildren, especially for boys.

Authors: Lee, Yungling Leo; Wang, Wen-Hua; Lu, Chia-Wen; Lin, Ya-Hui; Hwang, Bing-Fang ;Full Source: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2011, 214(5), 369-375 (Eng) ;