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Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Nov;115(11):1665-9.

Home indoor pollutant exposures among inner-city children with and without asthma.

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Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.



Evidence for environmental causes of asthma is limited, especially among African Americans. To look for systematic differences in early life domestic exposures between inner-city preschool children with and without asthma, we performed a study of home indoor air pollutants and allergens.


Children 2-6 years of age were enrolled in a cohort study in East Baltimore, Maryland. From the child's bedroom, air was monitored for 3 days for particulate matter <or= 2.5 and <or= 10 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM(2.5), PM(10)), nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. Median baseline values were compared for children with (n = 150) and without (n = 150) asthma. Housing characteristics related to indoor air pollution were assessed by caregiver report and home inspection. In addition, indoor allergen levels were measured in settled dust.


Children were 58% male, 91% African American, and 88% with public health insurance. Housing characteristics related to pollutant exposure and bedroom air pollutant concentrations did not differ significantly between asthmatic and control subjects [median: PM(2.5), 28.7 vs. 28.5 microg/m(3); PM(10), 43.6 vs. 41.4 microg/m(3); NO(2), 21.6 vs. 20.9 ppb; O(3), 1.4 vs. 1.8 ppb; all p > 0.05]. Settled dust allergen levels (cat, dust mite, cockroach, dog, and mouse) were also similar in bedrooms of asthmatic and control children.


Exposures to common home indoor pollutants and allergens are similar for inner-city preschool children with and without asthma. Although these exposures may exacerbate existing asthma, this study does not support a causative role of these factors for risk of developing childhood asthma.


African American; air pollution; allergens; asthma; particulate matter; pediatric; urban

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