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01 September 1998

Prevalence of allergy in preadolescent children across the areas of the city with different outdoor air pollution levels. The Cracow study

Wiesław Jędrychowski, Elżbieta Flak

Med Sci Monit 1998; 4(5): EP858-865 :: ID: 502052


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess up to what extent, allergy in children may be related to communal outdoor air pollutants after allowing for indoor air quality (environmental tobacco smoke, or mould houses) and parental atopy. The communal air pollution level was assessed by concentrations of classical air pollutants (SPM and SO2) measured by a network of air pollution stations in Cracow and by interviews with parents on heavy traffic or local sources of industrial air pollution in the residual areas of their children.
Methods: The cross-sectional field health survey has been carried out by trained interviewers from March through June 1995. The standardized interview included information on the allergy status diagnosed by a physician and allergy- related diseases, parental atopy, household characteristics, and exposure to heavy traffic or industrial low emission sources located in the residential area.
Results: Data demonstrates that the prevalence of childrens allergy diagnosed by physicians depended significantly on heavy traffic (OR=1.37; 95%CI: 1.0-1.9) and the presence of industrial pollution in the vicinity of houses (OR=1.70; 95%CI: 1.2-2.4) but was not associated with the higher level of particulate matter or sulphur dioxide (OR=1.18; 95%CI: 0.9-1.6). Similarly, the medical diagnosis of inhalation allergy appeared more often in areas with heavy traffic (OR=1.42; 95%CI: 1.0-2.0) and local industrial pollution (OR=1.63; 95%CI: 1.1-2.4). The occurrence of any allergy-related disorders reported by parents (hay fever, eczema or allergic conjunctivitis) was associated not only with heavy traffic (OR=1.29; 95%CI: 1.0-1.7) and industrial pollution (OR=1.38; 95%CI: 1.0-1.9) but also with a higher level of particulate matter and SO2 (OR=1.24; 95%CI:1.0-1.6).
Conclusions: Data have shown that childrens allergy diagnosed by physicians was significantly associated with heavy traffic or local industrial air pollution but not related to classical air pollutants such as suspended particulate matter or SO2. This association remained significant following the adjustment to indoor quality variables (ETS, moulds), parental allergy, gender of child and parental education. On the basis of data obtained one can estimate that 14% (95% CI: 4.9-34.2%) out of all allergy cases diagnosed by a physician may be attributed to heavy traffic. Similar estimates have been found for local low point industrial emissions (AF(pop) =12.6%;95% CI: 6.1-24.2%).

Keywords: Allergy, outdoor pollution, Prevalence, indoor air quality, children

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750