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NO2, as a marker of air pollution, and recurrent wheezing in children: a nested case-control study within the BAMSE birth cohort
  1. G Emenius1,
  2. G Pershagen2,
  3. N Berglind1,
  4. H-J Kwon2,
  5. M Lewné1,
  6. S L Nordvall3,
  7. M Wickman1
  1. 1Department of Environmental Health, Stockholm County Council, Sweden
  2. 2Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr G Emenius
 Department of Environmental Health, Norrbacka 3rd floor, Karolinska Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden; gunnel.emenius{at}


Aims: To investigate the association between air pollution, including with NO2, and recurrent wheezing during the first two years of life.

Methods: A birth cohort (BAMSE) comprised 4089 children, for whom information on exposures, symptoms, and diseases was available from parental questionnaires at ages 2 months, and 1 and 2 years. NO2 was measured during four weeks in and outside the dwellings of children with recurrent wheezing and two age matched controls, in a nested case-control study (540 children).

Results: Conditional logistic regression showed an OR of 1.60 (95% CI 0.78 to 3.26) among children in the highest quartile of outdoor NO2 exposure in relation to those in the lowest quartile, adjusted for potential confounders. The corresponding OR for indoor NO2 was 1.51 (95% CI 0.81 to 2.82). An interaction with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) was indicated with an OR of 3.10 (95% CI 1.32 to 7.30) among children exposed to the highest quartile of indoor NO2 and ETS. The association between NO2 and recurrent wheezing appeared stronger in children who did not fulfil the criteria for recurrent wheezing until their second year.

Conclusions: Although the odds of increased recurrent wheezing are not statistically significantly different from one, results suggest that exposure to air pollution including NO2, particularly in combination with exposure to ETS, increases the risk of recurrent wheezing in children.

  • NO2, wheezing, asthma, air quality

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