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Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Mar;118(3):313-7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901143. Epub 2009 Nov 6.

Formaldehyde exposure and asthma in children: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA. mcgwin@uab.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Despite multiple published studies regarding the association between formaldehyde exposure and childhood asthma, a consistent association has not been identified. Here we report the results of a systematic review of published literature in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of this relationship.

DATA SOURCES:

After a comprehensive literature search, we identified seven peer-reviewed studies providing quantitative results regarding the association between formaldehyde exposure and asthma in children. Studies were heterogeneous with respect to the definition of asthma (e.g., self-report, physician diagnosis). Most of the studies were cross-sectional.

DATA EXTRACTION:

For each study, an odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for asthma were either abstracted from published results or calculated based on the data provided. Characteristics regarding the study design and population were also abstracted.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

We used fixed- and random-effects models to calculate pooled ORs and 95% CIs; measures of heterogeneity were also calculated. A fixed-effects model produced an OR of 1.03 (95% CI, 1.021.04), and random effects model produced an OR of 1.17 (95% CI, 1.011.36), both reflecting an increase of 10 microg/m3 of formaldehyde. Both the Q and I2 statistics indicated a moderate amount of heterogeneity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results indicate a significant positive association between formaldehyde exposure and childhood asthma. Given the largely cross-sectional nature of the studies underlying this meta-analysis, further well-designed prospective epidemiologic studies are needed.

Comment in

PMID:
20064771
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2854756
Free PMC Article

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