Traffic pollution and chronic respiratory disease. Epidemiological studies in children and adults in southern Sweden

University dissertation from Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University

Abstract: This thesis investigate if long-term exposure to traffic pollution is a risk factor for development of chronic respiratory disease and allergy in adults and children in southern Sweden (Scania). Information about health was obtained from surveys and health care registers. Traffic pollution exposure was estimated by traffic intensity and levels of NOx at residential addresses, which were obtained by GIS-based methods. Paper 1 found that adults living close to dense traffic had higher prevalence of asthma and COPD. Paper 2 found that adults living close to dense traffic had higher prevalence of allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema but not non-allergic asthma or rhinitis. Paper 3 found that asthma in adults was associated with dense traffic at the home location but not traffic at the work location, daily time spent outdoor in traffic or a combined exposure estimate. Paper 4 found that growing up close to dense traffic was not associated with higher incidence of asthma medication, asthma diagnosis, obstructive bronchitis diagnosis or bronchiolitis diagnosis, in children 0-6 years. In conclusion, living close to dense traffic was associated with prevalence of asthma, COPD, allergic rhinitis and eczema, in adults, but not with incidence of asthma or other obstructive respiratory disease in young children.

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