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Original article
Children's respiratory health and oxidative potential of PM2.5: the PIAMA birth cohort study
  1. Aileen Yang1,2,
  2. Nicole A H Janssen1,
  3. Bert Brunekreef2,3,
  4. Flemming R Cassee1,2,
  5. Gerard Hoek2,
  6. Ulrike Gehring2
  1. 1National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  2. 2Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicole AH Janssen, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, Bilthoven 3720 BA, The Netherlands; Nicole.Janssen{at}


Introduction The oxidative potential (OP) of particulate matter (PM) has been proposed as a health-relevant metric, but currently few epidemiological studies investigated associations of OP with health. Our main aim was to assess associations of long-term exposure to OP with respiratory health in children. Our second aim was to evaluate whether OP is more consistently associated with respiratory health than PM mass, PM composition or nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Methods For 3701 participants of a prospective birth cohort, annual average concentrations of OP (assessed by spin resonance (OPESR) and dithiothreitol assay (OPDTT)), PM with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) mass, NO2, and PM2.5 constituents at the home addresses at birth and at all follow-up addresses were estimated by land-use regression. Repeated questionnaire reports of asthma and hay fever until age 14 years, and measurements of allergic sensitisation, lung function and fractional exhaled nitric oxide at age 12 years were linked with air pollution concentrations.

Results Asthma incidence, prevalence of asthma symptoms and rhinitis were positively associated with OPDTT (adjusted OR (95% CI) per IQR increase in exposure 1.10 (1.01 to 1.20), 1.08 (1.02 to 1.16), 1.15 (1.05 to 1.26), respectively). These associations persisted after adjustment for most co-pollutants. Forced expiratory volume in 1s and forced vital capacity were negatively associated with OPDTT. These associations were sensitive to adjustment for NO2. Respiratory health was not significantly associated with PM2.5 mass and OPESR.

Conclusions Respiratory health was more strongly associated with OPDTT than with PM2.5 mass; OPDTT associations with lung function, but not symptoms, were sensitive to adjustment for NO2.

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