Air pollution and ED visits for asthma in Australian children: a case-crossover analysis

Abstract

Objective

We aimed to determine the effects of ambient air pollutants on emergency department (ED) visits for asthma in children.

Methods

We obtained routinely collected ED visit data for asthma (ICD9 493) and air pollution (PM10, PM2.5, O3, NO2, CO and SO2) and meteorological data for metropolitan Sydney for 1997–2001. We used the time stratified case-crossover design and conditional logistic regression to model the association between air pollutants and ED visits for four age-groups (1–4, 5–9, 10–14 and 1–14 years). Estimated relative risks for asthma ED visits were calculated for an exposure corresponding to the inter-quartile range in pollutant level. We included same day average temperature, same day relative humidity, daily temperature range, school holidays and public holidays in all models.

Results

Associations between ambient air pollutants and ED visits for asthma in children were most consistent for all six air pollutants in the 1–4 years age-group, for particulates and CO in the 5–9 years age-group and for CO in the 10–14 years age-group. The greatest effects were most consistently observed for lag 0 and effects were greater in the warm months for particulates, O3 and NO2. In two pollutant models, effect sizes were generally smaller compared to those derived from single pollutant models.

Conclusion

We observed the effects of ambient air pollutants on ED attendances for asthma in a city where the ambient concentrations of air pollutants are relatively low.

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for the meteorological data, and the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation for the air pollution data. We received funding from the Health Research Foundation Sydney South West, Sydney South West Area Health Service, and from the Environmental Health Branch, NSW Health Department. The use of de-identified, routinely collected data in this study did not require approval from an institutional human research ethics committee.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Bin Jalaludin.

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Jalaludin, B., Khalaj, B., Sheppeard, V. et al. Air pollution and ED visits for asthma in Australian children: a case-crossover analysis. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 81, 967–974 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-007-0290-0

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Keywords

  • Ambient air pollution
  • Asthma
  • Case-crossover
  • Children
  • Emergency department visits