Traffic-related air pollution affects peak expiratory flow, exhaled nitric oxide, and inflammatory nasal markers

Arch Environ Health. Mar-Apr 2001;56(2):167-74. doi: 10.1080/00039890109604069.


The authors used a longitudinal observational design, with repeated measures, to study the association between traffic-related air pollutants (i.e., nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and Black Smoke) and respiratory symptoms. Subjects (N = 82) attended an elementary school in either Utrecht (i.e., urban children) or Bilthoven (i.e., suburban children). These two geographic areas differed with respect to levels of Black Smoke (means = 53 microg/m3 and 18 microg/m3, respectively). Levels of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and Black Smoke were consistently higher in Utrecht than in Bilthoven (mean daily ratios were 8, 1.5, 1.8, and 2.7, respectively). The authors compared mean levels of short-term effects of the aforementioned air pollutants on suburban and urban children. Urban children had higher mean levels (p = .05) of interleukin-8 (32%), urea (39%), uric acid (26%), albumin (15%), and nitric oxide metabolites (21%) in nasal lavage than did suburban children. Peak expiratory flow, exhaled nitric oxide levels, and nasal markers were associated with levels of particulate matter with diameters less than or equal to 10 microm, Black Smoke, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide. With respect to per-unit increases in air pollution, urban children had more increased peak expiratory flow, higher levels of exhaled nitric oxide, and more increased release of uric acid, urea, and nitric oxide metabolites than suburban children. In summary, urban children had increased levels of inflammatory nasal markers, and their responses were more pronounced than were the suburban children's responses to the same increments of air pollution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid / chemistry*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nitric Oxide / adverse effects*
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate / drug effects*
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Suburban Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population
  • Vehicle Emissions / adverse effects*


  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Nitric Oxide