The Australian Child Health and Air Pollution Study (ACHAPS): a national population-based cross-sectional study of long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution, asthma, and lung function

Luke D. Knibbs*, Adriana M. Cortes de Waterman, Brett G. Toelle, Yuming Guo, Lyn Denison, Bin Jalaludin, Guy B. Marks, Gail M. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most studies of long-term air pollution exposure and children's respiratory health have been performed in urban locations with moderate pollution levels. We assessed the effect of outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), as a proxy for urban air pollution, on current asthma and lung function in Australia, a low-pollution setting.

We undertook a national population-based cross-sectional study of children aged 7-11 years living in 12 Australian cities. We collected information on asthma symptoms from parents via questionnaire and measured children's lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s [FEV1], forced vital capacity [FVC]) and fractional exhaled nitric oxide [FeNO]). We estimated recent NO2 exposure (last 12 months) using monitors near each child's school, and used a satellite-based land-use regression (LUR) model to estimate NO2 at each child's school and home.

Our analysis comprised 2630 children, among whom the prevalence of current asthma was 14.9%. Mean (±SD) NO2 exposure was 8.8 ppb (±3.2) and 8.8 ppb (±2.3) for monitor-and LUR-based estimates, respectively. Mean percent predicted post-bronchodilator FEV1 and FVC were 101.7% (±10.5) and 98.8% (±10.5), respectively. The geometric mean FeNO concentration was 9.4 ppb (±7.1).

An IQR increase in NO2 (4.0 ppb) was significantly associated with increased odds of having current asthma; odds ratios (ORs) were 1.24 (95% CI: 1.08, 1.43) and 1.54 (95% CI: 1.26, 1.87) for monitor-and LUR-based estimates, respectively. Increased NO2 exposure was significantly associated with decreased percent predicted FEV1 (-1.35 percentage points [95% CI: -2.21, -0.49]) and FVC (-1.19 percentage points [95% CI: -2.04, -0.35], and an increase in Fe-NO of 71% (95% CI: 38%, 112%).

Exposure to outdoor NO2 was associated with adverse respiratory health effects in this population-based sample of Australian children. The relatively low NO2 levels at which these effects were observed highlight the potential benefits of continuous exposure reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-403
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment International
Volume120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asthma
  • Air pollution
  • Australia
  • Children
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Exposure

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