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Title: Air pollution exposure and respiratory health in childhood
Author: Molter, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 8802
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children and the effects of air pollution exposure on asthma and respiratory health in children have been a growing concern over recent decades. Although a number of epidemiological studies have been carried out in this field, these have produced conflicting results. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of long term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) on asthma prevalence and lung function in children. To achieve this, a novel exposure model was developed and evaluated, which allowed retrospective exposure assessment of children participating in a population based birth cohort study – the Manchester Asthma and Allergy Study (MAAS). MAAS is a prospective birth cohort study comprising 1185 children specifically designed to study asthma and allergies. Clinical follow up took place at ages 3, 5, 8 and 11 years. At each follow up parents completed questionnaires on asthma diagnosis and symptoms and children underwent skin prick tests for common allergens. Children’s specific airways resistance (sRaw, at ages 3, 5, 8, 11) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1, at ages 5, 8, 11) were measured. At ages 5 and 11 years FEV1 was measured at baseline and after bronchodilator treatment. The exposure model developed during this study incorporated outdoor and indoor air pollution, spatio-temporal variation in air pollution and time-activity patterns of children. The model was based on the concept of microenvironmental exposure. It modelled personal exposure based on PM10 and NO2 concentrations in children’s home, school and journey microenvironments (MEs) and the length of time they spend in these MEs. Land use regression (LUR) models were used to model PM10 and NO2 concentrations in outdoor MEs. These LUR models were specifically developed for the Greater Manchester area. A novel method was used to develop the LUR models, which used the output from an air dispersion model as dependent variables in the regression analysis. Furthermore, a novel approach was used to obtain annual concentration of PM10 and NO2 from 1996 to 2010, which involved the recalibration of the LUR models for each year. A mass balance model and indoor to outdoor ratios were used to model concentrations in indoor MEs. The performance of the exposure model was evaluated through a personal monitoring study in schoolchildren attending a local secondary school. Children wore personal NO2 monitors for two consecutive days in four seasons. Parental questionnaires and time-activity diaries were used to obtain information for the exposure model and to model NO2 exposure for the same time period. The results showed good agreement between monitored and modelled NO2 concentrations (Normalised mean bias factor=-0.04). Multiple linear regression and generalised estimating equations (GEE) were used to assess the cross-sectional and longitudinal effect of modelled exposure on sRaw and FEV1 (as % predicted). Multiple logistic regression and GEE were used to assess the effect of modelled exposure on the prevalence of asthma and current wheeze.The longitudinal analyses showed significant associations between PM10 and NO2 exposure and % predicted FEV1 (PM10: B=-1.37, p=0.019; NO2: B=-0.83, p=0.003), but no association with sRaw (PM10: B=0.009, p=0.37; NO2: B=-0.007, p=0.16). The cross-sectional analyses showed no association between pollutant exposure during the summer or winter prior to age 11 and any of the lung function measures (p>0.05). Long term PM10 or NO2 exposure were not associated with asthma or current wheeze (p>0.05).This study developed and evaluated a novel air pollution exposure model for epidemiological research. The results of this study suggest a negative impact of long term exposure to NO2 and PM10 on growth in FEV1 during primary school age. However, no evidence of an association between long term exposure to NO2 and PM10 and childhood asthma was found.
Supervisor: Lindley, Sarah; Agius, Raymond; Simpson, Angela; De Vocht, Frank Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Air pollution ; Exposure model ; Childhood ; Asthma ; Lung function