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.