Effects of indoor painting and smoking on airway symptoms in atopy risk children in the first year of life results of the LARS-study. Leipzig Allergy High-Risk Children Study

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2000 Mar;203(1):23-8. doi: 10.1078/s1438-4639(04)70004-8.


Introduction: The Leipzig Allergy High-Risk Children Study (LARS) is a prospective nested cohort control study about the influence of chemical indoor exposure in dwellings on the health outcome of atopy-risk children during the first years of life.

Design and methods: 475 premature children and children with allergic risk factors have been selected out of the 1995/1996 birth cohort in the city of Leipzig. Twenty-five volatile organic compounds (VOC) were measured in the infant's bedrooms using passive sampling systems for 4 weeks after birth. The babies underwent a medical examination at the age of six weeks and 1 year. The parents answered a questionnaire.

Results: Correlations between VOC exposures and infections were calculated by multiple logistic regression. Selected VOC show a direct association to actually painted dwellings (OR = 2.4; 95% Cl 1.1-5.3). An increase of risk of pulmonary infections was observed in infants aged 6 weeks if restoration (painting OR 5.6; 95% Cl 1.3-24.0) or flooring connected with painting had occurred during the pregnancy period. Higher concentration of styrene (> 2.0 micrograms/m3, indicator for flooring) elevated the risk of pulmonary infections in six-week-old infants (OR = 2.1; 95% Cl 1.1-4.2). Environmental benzene > 5.6 micrograms/m3 increased the risk of airway infections in six-week-old babies (OR = 2.4; 95% Cl 1.28-4.48). Smoking in the dwelling (OR = 2.0; 95% Cl 1.1-3.5) as well as restoration (OR = 1.9; 95% Cl 1.1-3.5) are also risk factors of the development of wheezing in the one-year-old child.

Conclusions: The data give indications in order to prevent allergies and chronic lung diseases in atopy risk children exposure to chemicals from indoor air should be minimised from birth on.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / genetics*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Paint / adverse effects*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco / adverse effects*


  • Antibodies
  • Smoke
  • Immunoglobulin E