Lifelong exposure to air pollution and greenness in relation to asthma, rhinitis and lung function in adulthood

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  • Ingrid Nordeide Kuiper, Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • Cecilie Svanes, Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • Iana Markevych, Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany., Germany
  • Simone Accordini, Unit of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Department of Diagnostics and Public Health, University of Verona, Verona, Italy., Italy
  • Randi J Bertelsen, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Oral Health Centre of Expertise in Western Norway, Bergen, Norway
  • Lennart Bråbäck, Section of Sustainable Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  • Jesper Heile Christensen
  • Bertil Forsberg, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Thomas Halvorsen, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Joachim Heinrich, Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Allergy and Lung Health Unit, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia., Germany
  • Ole Hertel
  • Gerard Hoek, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands., Netherlands
  • Mathias Holm, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Kees de Hoogh, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland., Switzerland
  • Christer Janson, Department of Medical Sciences: Respiratory, Allergy and Sleep Research, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden., Sweden
  • Andrei Malinovschi, Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Physiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden., Sweden
  • Alessandro Marcon, Unit of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Department of Diagnostics and Public Health, University of Verona, Verona, Italy., Italy
  • Roy Miodini Nilsen, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
  • Torben Sigsgaard
  • Ane Johannessen, Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

OBJECTIVES: To investigate if air pollution and greenness exposure from birth till adulthood affects adult asthma, rhinitis and lung function.

METHODS: We analysed data from 3428 participants (mean age 28) in the RHINESSA study in Norway and Sweden. Individual mean annual residential exposures to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), black carbon (BC), ozone (O3) and greenness (normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)) were averaged across susceptibility windows (0-10 years, 10-18 years, lifetime, adulthood (year before study participation)) and analysed in relation to physician diagnosed asthma (ever/allergic/non-allergic), asthma attack last 12 months, current rhinitis and low lung function (lower limit of normal (LLN), z-scores of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and FEV1/FVC below 1.64). We performed logistic regression for asthma attack, rhinitis and LLN lung function (clustered with family and study centre), and conditional logistic regression with a matched case-control design for ever/allergic/non-allergic asthma. Multivariable models were adjusted for parental asthma and education.

RESULTS: Childhood, adolescence and adult exposure to NO2, PM10 and O3 were associated with an increased risk of asthma attacks (ORs between 1.29 and 2.25), but not with physician diagnosed asthma. For rhinitis, adulthood exposures seemed to be most important. Childhood and adolescence exposures to PM2.5 and O3 were associated with lower lung function, in particular FEV1 (range ORs 2.65 to 4.21). No associations between NDVI and asthma or rhinitis were revealed, but increased NDVI was associated with lower FEV1 and FVC in all susceptibility windows (range ORs 1.39 to 1.74).

CONCLUSIONS: Air pollution exposures in childhood, adolescence and adulthood were associated with increased risk of asthma attacks, rhinitis and low lung function in adulthood. Greenness was not associated with asthma or rhinitis, but was a risk factor for low lung function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106219
JournalEnvironment International
Volume146
Number of pages10
ISSN0160-4120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

    Research areas

  • air pollution, greenness, asthma, lung function, rhinitis

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