Association between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and pediatric allergic diseases based on modeled air pollution concentrations and traffic measures in Seoul, Korea: a comparative analysis

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Environmental Health, 19(1):6
Air pollutionAtopic eczemaIndividual-level exposurePediatric allergic diseasesTraffic
Pediatric allergic diseases are a major public health concern, and previous studies have suggested that exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) exposure is a risk factor. These studies have typically assessed TRAP exposure using traffic measures, such as distance to major roads, or by modeling air pollutant concentrations; however inconsistent associations with pediatric allergic diseases have often been found. Using road proximity and density, we previously found an association between TRAP and atopic eczema among approximately 15,000 children living in Seoul, Korea, heavily populated and highly polluted city in which traffic is a major emission source. We aimed to conduct a parallel analysis using modeled air pollution concentrations and thus examine the consistency of the association. Specifically, we examined the associations of individual-level annual-average concentrations of NO2, PM10, and PM2.5 with symptoms and diagnoses of three pediatric allergic diseases including asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic eczema.

The study population included 14,614 children from the Seoul Atopy Friendly School Project Survey in Seoul, Korea, in 2010. To assess individual exposures to TRAP among these children, we predicted annual-average concentrations of NO2, PM10, and PM2.5 at the childrens home addresses in 2010 using universal kriging and land use regression models along with regulatory air quality monitoring data and geographic characteristics. Then, we estimated odds ratios (ORs) of the three allergic diseases for interquartile increases in air pollution concentrations after adjusting for individual risk factors in mixed effects logistic regression.

Symptoms and diagnoses of atopic eczema symptoms showed an association with NO2 (OR = 1.07, 95% confidence interval = 1.02–1.13; 1.08, 1.03–1.14) and PM10 (1.06, 1.01–1.12; 1.07, 1.01–1.13). ORs of PM2.5 were positive but not statistically significant (1.01, 0.95–1.07; 1.04, 0.98–1.10). No association was found between asthma and allergic rhinitis, although PM2.5 showed a marginal association with allergic rhinitis.

Our consistent findings regarding the association between TRAP and the prevalence of atopic eczema using traffic measures and surrogate air pollutants suggested the effect of TRAP on childrens health. Follow-up studies should elucidate the causal link, to support subsequent policy considerations and minimize adverse health effects in children.
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Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원)Dept. of Public Health (보건학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_보건학과)
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