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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Feb;22(1 Pt 2):e112-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2010.00992.x.

Home air-conditioning, traffic exposure, and asthma and allergic symptoms among preschool children.

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  • 1Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Epidemiological data suggest that traffic exposures can influence asthma and allergic symptoms among preschool children; however, there is no information on risk reduction via home air-conditioning (AC). The aim of this study is to evaluate the associations of self-reported traffic densities with asthma and allergic symptoms among preschool children and determine whether AC is an effect modifier. A cross-sectional study adopting an expanded and modified ISAAC--International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood conducted on randomly selected 2994 children living in homes without any indoor risk factors. Specific information on demographics, indoor home risk factors, and traffic variables were obtained. Adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were determined by Cox proportional hazard regression model with assumption of a constant risk period controlled for covariates. We found dose-response significant relationships between validated self-reported traffic densities and asthma and rhinitis symptoms. Among children sleeping in non-air-conditioned homes, there were stronger associations between asthma and rhinitis symptoms studied. PRs for heavy traffic density were 2.06 for wheeze (95% CI 0.97-4.38), 2.89 for asthma (1.14-7.32), 1.73 for rhinitis (1.00-2.99), and 3.39 for rhinoconjunctivitis (1.24-9.27). There were no associations found for children sleeping in air-conditioned homes. Our results suggest that AC in the bedroom modifies the health effects of traffic among preschool children. This finding suggests that attention should also be paid to ventilation characteristics of the homes to remediate health-related traffic pollution problems.

© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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