Indoor particulate matter increases asthma morbidity in children with non-atopic and atopic asthma.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011 Apr;106(4):308-15. McCormack MC, Breysse PN, Matsui EC, Hansel NN, Peng RD, Curtin-Brosnan J, Williams DL, Wills-Karp M, Diette GB; Center for Childhood Asthma in the Urban Environment. Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

BACKGROUND: Compared with atopic asthma, fewer environmental modifications are recommended for non-atopic asthma in children.

OBJECTIVE: To better understand the role of indoor pollutants in provoking non-atopic asthma, we investigated the effect of in-home particulate matter on asthma symptoms among non-atopic and atopic children living in inner-city Baltimore.

METHODS: A cohort of 150 children ages 2 to 6 years with asthma underwent home environmental monitoring for 3-day intervals at baseline, 3, and 6 months. Children were classified as non-atopic if they were skin test negative to a panel of 14 aeroallergens. Caregivers completed questionnaires assessing symptoms and rescue medication use. Longitudinal data analysis included regression models with generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS: Children were primarily African American from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and spent most of their time in the home. Thirty-one percent were non-atopic, and 69% were atopic. Among non-atopic and atopic children, increased in-home fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM2.5-10) particle concentrations were associated with significant increases in asthma symptoms and rescue medication use ranging from 7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0-15) to 14% (95% CI, 1-27) per 10 μg/m(3) increase in particle concentration after adjustment for confounders.

CONCLUSIONS: In-home particles similarly cause increased symptoms of asthma in non-atopic and atopic children. Environmental control strategies that reduce particle concentrations may prove to be an effective means of improving asthma outcomes, especially for non-atopic asthma, for which there are few environmental control practice recommendations.

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