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Arch Environ Health. 2002 Nov-Dec;57(6):529-35.

Effects of air pollution on the prevalence and incidence of asthma in children.

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Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.


The effects of air pollution on asthmatic symptoms were assessed in a prospective cohort study of 3,049 schoolchildren in 8 different communities in Japan. Respiratory symptoms in these children were evaluated by questionnaires every year from the 1st through the 6th grades. The prevalence of asthma among the 1st graders was strongly associated with a history of allergic or respiratory diseases, but it was not associated with concentrations of air pollution. During the follow-up period, incidence rates of asthma were associated significantly with atmospheric concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. Particulate matter less than 10 microm in diameter (PM10) was also associated with a higher incidence of asthma, although the association was not significant. These findings suggest that air pollution, including nitrogen dioxide, may be an important factor in the development of asthma among children in urban districts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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