Vehicle exhaust outside the home and onset of asthma among adults

L. Modig1, K. Torén2, C. Janson3, B. Jarvholm1 and B. Forsberg1

Vehicle exhaust outside the home and onset of asthma among adults

1 Dept of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå. 2 Dept of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, and 3 Dept of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

CORRESPONDENCE: L. Modig, Dept of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. Fax: 46 907852456. E-mail: lars.modig@envmed.umu.se

Keywords: Adults, asthma, cohort, incidence, vehicle exhaust

Received: July 4, 2008
Accepted February 18, 2009

Few studies have investigated the relationship between vehicleexhaust and the new onset of asthma among adults. The aim ofthe present prospective cohort study was to investigate therelationship between the cumulative incidence of asthma andonset of asthma among adults and vehicle exhaust concentrationsat home.

Participants from three Swedish cities included in the RespiratoryHealth in Northern Europe cohort constituted the study population.Exposure at each participant’s home was calculated usingdispersion models. We also used <50 m distance to nearestmajor road as a more simple indicator of exposure. The adjustedmodel included 3,609 participants, of which 107 were classifiedas onset cases and 55 as true incident cases of asthma.

There was a positive association between asthma onset (oddsratio (OR) per 10 µg·m–3 1.46, 95% confidenceinterval (CI) 1.07–1.99) and incident asthma (OR per 10 µg·m–3 1.54, 95% CI 1.00–2.36) and the levels of nitrogen dioxide(NO2), which remained statistically significant after adjustingfor potential confounders. The relationship between asthma andNO2 was not significantly modified by sex, hay fever or wheeze.The risk of developing asthma was also significantly relatedto living close to a major road.

The current study suggests that elevated levels of vehicle exhaustoutside the home increase the risk of onset and incident asthmaamong adults.

http://erj.ersjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/33/6/1261
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