Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution in Relation to Allergy and Asthma in Taiyuan, China

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The aim was to study the prevalence of asthma, eczema, allergy and respiratory symptoms among pupils in Shanxi province, China, in relation to home and school environment and outdoor air pollution. In one study there was a low prevalence of self-reported asthma, eczema and pollen or pet allergy among pupils (9-20y). Rural childhood and consumption of fruit and fish were negatively associated with asthma or allergy, while current urban residency and consumption of hamburgers tended to be risk factors. In another study in junior high school pupils, similar low prevalence of asthma and allergy was found. Compared with pupils at the same age in Uppsala, Sweden, asthma and allergy were less common while daytime attacks of breathlessness were more common in Chinese pupils. Parental asthma or allergy was a predictor of asthma symptoms. Factors in the home environment such as new floor, new furniture and ETS exposure were risk factors for asthma symptoms. Crowdedness, dust amount, CO2, temperature and air humidity were negatively associated with respiratory symptoms. Microbial chemical components like muramic acid and ergosterol, markers for bacteria and fungi, were negatively associated with wheeze or daytime attacks of breathlessness. The associations with endotoxin varied depending on the length of 3-hydroxy fatty acids of the lippopolysaccharides (LPS). Among outdoor air pollutants, SO2 and formaldehyde were positively associated with asthma symptoms or respiratory infections. In addition, indoor SO2, NO2 and formaldehyde were positively associated with asthma symptoms and respiratory infections. In conclusion, rural childhood and dietary factors can be protective for asthma and allergy. ETS and chemical emissions from new material at home can be risk factors for asthmatic symptoms. In the school environment, factors of indoor origin seemed to be generally protective for respirator symptoms while factors of outdoor origin seemed to be risk factors.