Self Reported Truck Traffic in Street of Residence and Symptoms of Asthma and Allergic Disease: a Global Relationship in ISAAC Phase Three.

Bert Brunekreef, Alistair W Stewart, H Ross Anderson, Christopher K W Lai, David P Strachan, Neil E Pearce, and the ISAAC Phase Three Study Group

Background: Associations between traffic pollution in street of residence and a range of respiratory and allergic outcomes in children have been reported in developed countries, but little is known about such associations in developing countries.

Methods: The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, third phase (ISAAC Phase Three) was carried out in 13-14 and 6-7 year old children across the world. A question about frequency of truck traffic in street of residence was included in an additional questionnaire. The association between self-reported truck traffic in street of residence and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema was investigated with logistic regression. Adjustments were made for gender, region of the world, language, gross national income and 10 other subject specific covariates.

Results: A positive association was found between frequency of truck traffic on street of residence and the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema with an exposure-response relationship. Odds Ratios for ‘current wheeze’ and ‘almost the whole day’ vs. ‘never’ truck traffic were 1.35 (1.23 – 1.49) for 13-14 yr olds, and 1.35 (1.22 – 1.48) for 6- 7 yr olds.

Conclusions: The findings that higher exposure to self-reported truck traffic in the street of residence increases reporting of symptoms of asthma, rhinitis and eczema in many locations in the world require further investigation in view of the increasing exposure of the world’s children to traffic.

Environ Health Perspect 2009; 117(11): 1791-98. Epub July 2009.

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