Background/aim Air pollution exposure has been associated with lower lung function in children. Evidence on relevance of exposure during various stages of childhood and potential effects of exposure on lung function growth into adolescence is lacking.
Methods Within the Dutch PIAMA birth cohort, we conducted cross-sectional (n=721) and longitudinal analyses (n=915) of associations of time window air pollution exposure with lung function at 16 years and lung function growth from 8 to 16 years respectively. We estimated average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters<2.5 (PM2.5),<10 (PM10), 2.5–10 µm (PMcoarse), and PM2.5 absorbance at home addresses since birth using land use regression models. Time window average exposures included: birth, preschool (birth–4 years), primary school (4–12 years) and secondary school (12–16 years) periods. We analysed associations of time window exposures with lung function and lung function growth using linear regression and linear mixed effects models.
Results Higher air pollution levels during all time windows were associated with lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) in adolescence, e.g. -2.36% (95% CI: −3.76 to −0.94) per interquartile range (IQR, 1.18 µg/m3) increase in secondary school time window PM2.5, and with reduced FEV1 growth e.g. difference in 1 year growth per IQR (0.8 µg/m3) increase was −0.28% (95% CI:−0.44 to −0.11) per IQR increase in PM10 at birth. Results were similar for all pollutants and prominent in males than in females.
Conclusion Air pollution exposure during all time windows was associated with lower lung function (growth) from childhood into adolescence.
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