, Volume 212, Issue 1-4, pp 89-100
Date: 12 Feb 2010

Air Pollution and its Impact on Lung Function of Children in Delhi, the Capital City of India

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Abstract

Air pollution is a major contributor to several respiratory problems, it affects the whole population in general but children are more susceptible. Exposure to automobile exhaust is associated with increased respiratory symptoms and may impair lung function in children. In view of this, the study was conducted among the children of Delhi, the capital city of India, where ambient air quality was much above the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The study was conducted in children aged 9–17 years. Pulmonary function test was carried out following the guideline of American Thoracic Society using a portable, electronic spirometer. Air quality data was collected from Central and State Pollution Control Boards. In addition, the level of particulate matter in indoor air was measured by portable laser photometer. Lung function was reduced in 43.5% schoolchildren of the urban area compared with 25.7% of control group. The urban children had increased prevalence of restrictive, obstructive, as well as combined type of lung functions deficits. Besides higher prevalence, the magnitude of lung function deficits was also much more in them. After controlling potential confounders like season, socioeconomic conditions and ETS, PM10 level in ambient air was found to be associated with restrictive (OR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.07–1.58), obstructive (OR = 1.45, 95% CI 1.16–1.82), and combined type of lung function deficits (OR = 1.74, 95% CI 1.37–2.71) in children. Spearman's rank correlation test reaffirmed the association. The study confirms that the level of air pollution is affecting the children.