Objectives: To examine the prevalence of self-reported asthma, bronchitis/emphysema, wheezing, night cough and smoking in Port Adelaide; to explore the relationship of the disorders to the presence of industry, tobacco smoke, indoor appliances and air quality.
Methods: Prevalence data from a 1995 survey of Port Adelaide residents were compared with data from the 1995 National Health Survey and the 1995 South Australian Health Omnibus Survey. These data were then compared across three geographic areas in Port Adelaide, one being highly industrialised. Their relation to tobacco smoke and the presence of unflued gas appliances were examined. Finally, outdoor gaseous air pollutants were examined across the three areas.
Results: Males in Port Adelaide had higher rates of asthma and bronchitis/emphysema than nationally. Asthma was significantly higher for children aged 5-14 years and for adults aged 25-44 years. Bronchitis/emphysema was significantly higher for males aged 25-64. The highly industrial area had a higher rate of asthma (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.07-3.22) in males that appeared unrelated to smoking or ambient gaseous pollutants. Smoking in Port Adelaide was significantly higher than in the general population, and was significantly associated with wheeze, night cough and bronchitis/emphysema. The presence of unflued gas heaters at home was significantly associated with asthma prevalence in males (OR 3.27, 95% CI 1.40-7.64).
Conclusions: Respiratory disease appeared to be independently related to an area of high industry, smoking and presence of unflued gas appliances in Port Adelaide.