Objectives To investigate the effect of ambient particulate matter on variation in childhood prevalence of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema.
Methods Prevalences of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema obtained in Phase One of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) were matched with city-level estimates of residential PM10 obtained from a World Bank model. Associations were investigated using binomial regression adjusting for GNP per capita and for clustering within country. For countries with more than one centre, a two stage meta-analysis was carried out. The results were compared with a meta-analysis of published multi-centre studies.
Results Annual concentrations of PM10 at city level were obtained for 105 ISAAC centres in 51 countries. After controlling for GNP per capita, there was a weak negative association between PM10 and various outcomes. For severe wheeze in 13–14-year-olds, the OR for a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM10 was 0.92 (95% CI 0.84 to 1.00). In 24 countries with more than one centre, most summary estimates for within-country associations were weakly positive. For severe wheeze in 13–14-year-olds, the summary OR for a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM10 was 1.01 (0.92 to 1.10). This result was close to a summary OR of 0.99 (0.91 to 1.06) obtained from published multi-centre studies.
Conclusions Modelled estimates of particulate matter at city level are imprecise and incomplete estimates of personal exposure to ambient air pollutants. Nevertheless, our results together with those of previous multi-centre studies, suggest that urban background PM10 has little or no association with the prevalence of childhood asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis or eczema either within or between countries.
- air pollution
- cross sectional studies
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Stephan K Weiland died on 19 March 2007.
Members of the ISAAC Phase One Study Group are listed in appendix 1
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Each collaborator (appendix 1) obtained ethical approval for their respective centre or centres.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.