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Arch Environ Health. 1999 Nov-Dec;54(6):373-81.

Effects of air pollution on respiratory health of adults in three Chinese cities.

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Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


The authors examined potential associations between air-pollution exposures and respiratory symptoms and illnesses of 4,108 adults who resided in 4 districts of 3 large, distinct Chinese cities. Data on respiratory health outcomes and relevant risk factors for parents and children were obtained via standardized questionnaires in the winter of 1988. (The effects in children were described previously.) The yearly averages of ambient levels of total suspended particles in the 4 districts for the years 1985-1988 differed greatly. The authors constructed logistic-regression models to assess the respiratory health parameters of parents of the children. The results revealed significant and strong effects, by district, on prevalence rates of cough, phlegm, persistent cough and phlegm, and wheeze for both the mothers and the fathers. In addition, the odds ratios increased as ambient total suspended particle concentration increased across the 3 urban districts. Other local within-city risk factors, however, may have confounded the total suspended particles-effects association, especially for asthma prevalence. Findings for adults were similar to those found for their children. A strong adverse effect of active tobacco smoking on the fathers' respiratory health was observed. The children appeared to be more strongly affected by passive smoking exposure received in their homes than their mothers.

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