Background: We enrolled a cohort of primary schoolchildren with a history of wheeze (n = 148) in an 11-month longitudinal study to examine the relationship between ambient ozone concentrations and peak expiratory flow rate.
Methods: Enrolled children recorded peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) twice daily. We obtained air pollution, meteorological and pollen data. In all, 125 children remained in the final analysis.
Results: We found a significant negative association between daily mean deviation in PEFR and same-day mean daytime ozone concentration (beta-coefficient = 0.88; P = 0.04) after adjusting for co-pollutants, time trend, meteorological variables, pollen count and ALTERNARIA: count. The association was stronger in a subgroup of children with bronchial hyperreactivity and a doctor diagnosis of asthma (beta-coefficient = -2.61; P = 0.001). There was no significant association between PEFR and same-day daily daytime maximum ozone concentration. We also demonstrated a dose-response relationship with mean daytime ozone concentration.
Conclusions: Moderate levels of ambient ozone have an adverse health effect on children with a history of wheezing, and this effect is larger in children with bronchial hyperreactivity and a doctor diagnosis of asthma.