Children's respiratory morbidity prevalence in relation to air pollution in four Chinese cities.
We examined respiratory health effects of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution in 7,621 schoolchildren residing in eight districts of four Chinese cities. The four cities exhibited wide between-city and within-city gradients in ambient levels of four size fractions of particulate matter [less than or equal to 2.5 micro m in aerodynamic diameter (PM(2.5)), between 2.5 and 10 micro m (PM(10-2.5)), less than or equal to 10 micro m (PM(10)), and total suspended particulates (TSP)] and two gaseous pollutants (SO(2) and NO(x)). Informed consent and written responses to questionnaires about children's personal, residential, and family information, as well as their health histories and status, were obtained with the help of the parents and the school personnel. We used a two-stage regression approach in data analyses. In the first-stage logistic regressions, we obtained logits of district-specific prevalence of wheeze, asthma, bronchitis, hospitalization for respiratory diseases, persistent cough, and persistent phlegm, adjusted for covariates representing personal, household, and family parameters. Some of these covariates were found to be risk factors of children's respiratory health, including being younger in the study group, being male, having been breast-fed, sharing bedrooms, sharing beds, room being smoky during cooking, eye irritation during cooking, parental smoking, and a history of parental asthma. In several of the second-stage variance-weighted linear regressions, we examined associations between district-specific adjusted prevalence rates and district-specific ambient levels of each pollutant. We found positive associations between morbidity prevalence and outdoor levels of PM of all size fractions, but the association appeared to be stronger for coarse particles (PM(10-2.5)). The results also present some evidence that ambient levels of NO(x) and SO(2) were positively associated with children's respiratory symptoms, but the evidence for these two gaseous pollutants appeared to be weaker than that for the PM.
Zhang, JJ; Hu, W; Wei, F; Wu, G; Korn, LR; Chapman, RS
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