Asthmatic symptoms and air pollution: a panel study on children living in the Italian Po Valley

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Andrea Ranzi *
Anna Freni Sterrantino
Francesco Forastiere
Claudio Sartini
Giovanna Casale
Rino Cavallini
Aldo De Togni
Lorenza Gallo
Paolo Lauriola
(*) Corresponding Author:
Andrea Ranzi | aranzi@arpa.emr.it

Abstract

The Po Valley (Northern Italy) has elevated levels of air-pollution due to various sources of pollution and adverse weather conditions. This study evaluates the short-term effects of exposure to particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10) on asthma symptoms in school-aged children. An initial cross-sectional survey was conducted in the area to estimate asthma prevalence in children. Out of a total of 250 asthmatic children identified by the study, 69 agreed to participate in a panel study. The PM10 exposure assessment was based on a combination of geographic and environmental measurements leading to a focus on three different areas, each characterised by its own daily PM10 level. Participants were monitored daily for respiratory symptoms for eight weeks (January-March 2006). We assessed the relationship between daily PM10 exposure and occurrence of asthma symptoms with a generalised linear model based on a total of 3864 person-days of observation. Exposure to PM10 per m3 was found to be particularly associated with cough (OR=1.03, CI 95% 0.99; 1.08) and phlegm (OR=1.05, CI 95% 1.00; 1.10). In the most polluted area, exposure to PM10 was also associated with wheezing (OR=1.18, CI 95% 1.02; 1.37).


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