Long-term ambient ozone concentration and the incidence of asthma in nonsmoking adults: the AHSMOG Study

Environ Res. 1999 Feb;80(2 Pt 1):110-21. doi: 10.1006/enrs.1998.3894.


We conducted a prospective study of a cohort of 3091 nonsmokers, ages 27 to 87 years, to evaluate the association between long-term ambient ozone exposure and development of adult-onset asthma. Over a 15-year period, 3.2% of males and 4.3% of females reported new doctor diagnoses of asthma. For males, we observed a significant relationship between report of doctor diagnosis of asthma and 20-year mean 8-h average ambient ozone concentration (relative risk (RR)=2.09 for a 27 ppb increase in ozone concentration, 95% CI=1.03 to 4.16). We observed no such relationship for females. Other variables significantly related to development of asthma were a history of ever-smoking for males (RR=2.37, 95% CI=1.13 to 4.81), and for females, number of years worked with a smoker (RR=1.21 for a 7-year increment, 95% CI=1.04 to 1.39), age (RR=0.61 for a 16-year increment, 95% CI=0.44 to 0.84), and a history of childhood pneumonia or bronchitis (RR=2.96, 95% CI=1.68 to 5.03). Addition of other pollutants (PM10, SO4, NO2, and SO2) to the models did not diminish the relationship between ozone and asthma for males. These data suggest that long-term exposure to ambient ozone is associated with development of asthma in adult males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ozone / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies


  • Ozone