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Epidemiology. 2015 May;26(3):300-9. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000264.

Particulate matter composition and respiratory health: the PIAMA Birth Cohort study.

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From the aInstitute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; bDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; cUniversity of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; dMRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; eDivision of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus University Medical Center/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; fNetherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Utrecht, The Netherlands; gDepartment of Pediatric Pulmonology and Pediatric Allergology, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; hGroningen Research Institute for Asthma and COPD, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; iDepartment of Pulmonary Diseases, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; and jJulius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Ambient particulate matter (PM) exposure is associated with children's respiratory health. Little is known about the importance of different PM constituents. We investigated the effects of PM constituents on asthma, allergy, and lung function until the age of 11-12 years.


For 3,702 participants of a prospective birth cohort study, questionnaire-reported asthma and hay fever and measurements of allergic sensitization and lung function were linked with annual average concentrations of copper, iron, potassium, nickel, sulfur, silicon, vanadium, and zinc in particles with diameters of less than 2.5 and 10 μm (PM2.5 and PM10) at birth addresses and current addresses from land-use regression models. Exposure-health relations were analyzed by multiple (repeated measures) logistic and linear regressions.


Asthma incidence and prevalence of asthma symptoms and rhinitis were positively associated with zinc in PM10 at the birth address (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] per interquartile range increase in exposure 1.13 [1.02, 1.25], 1.08 [1.00, 1.17], and 1.16 [1.04, 1.30], respectively). Moreover, asthma symptoms were positively associated with copper in PM10 at the current address (1.06 [1.00, 1.12]). Allergic sensitization was positively associated with copper and iron in PM10 at the birth address (relative risk [95% confidence interval] 1.07 [1.01, 1.14] and 1.10 [1.03, 1.18]) and current address. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second was negatively associated with copper and iron in PM2.5 (change [95% confidence interval] -2.1% [-1.1, -0.1%] and -1.0% [-2.0, -0.0%]) and FEF75-50 with copper in PM10 at the current address (-2.3% [-4.3, -0.3%]).


PM constituents, in particular iron, copper, and zinc, reflecting poorly regulated non-tailpipe road traffic emissions, may increase the risk of asthma and allergy in schoolchildren.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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