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Eur Respir J. 2002 May;19(5):838-45.

Particulate matter and lung function growth in children: a 3-yr follow-up study in Austrian schoolchildren.

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  • 1University Children's Hospital, Vienna, Austria.


The effects of particulate matter <10 microm in diameter (PM10) and other air pollutants on lung function were assessed in 975 schoolchildren, from eight communities in Lower Austria between 1994-1997. In each community, air pollution data were collected. Spirometry was performed twice a year. PM10 concentration (mean concentration between two subsequent lung-function measures in spring and autumn (summer interval) or between autumn and spring (winter interval)) showed a mean value of 17.36 microg x m(-3) in the summer interval and 21.03 microg m(-3) in the winter interval. A slower increase in the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and midexpiratory flow between 25 and 75% of the forced vital capacity (MEF25-75) with age in children exposed to higher summer PM10 was observed in the 3-yr study period. After adjusting for potential confounders (sex, atopy, passive smoking, initial height, height difference, site, initial lung function) an increase of summer PM10 by 10 microg x m(-3) was associated with a decrease in FEV1 growth of 84 mL x yr(-1) and 329 mL x s(-1) x yr(-1) for MEF25-75. Nitrogen dioxide and ozone also showed a negative effect on lung-function growth, confirming previous work. The authors concluded that long-term exposure to particulate matter <10 microm in diameter had a significant negative effect on lung-function proxy for the development of large (forced expiratory volume in one second) and small (midexpiratory flow between 25 and 75% of the forced vital capacity) airways, respectively, with strong evidence for a further effect of ozone and nitrogen dioxide on the development of forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in one second.

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