Incidence of asthma diagnosis and self-reported allergy in relation to the school environment--a four-year follow-up study in schoolchildren

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2001 Nov;5(11):1059-66.


Setting: In schools, the indoor air quality is often poor and there is growing concern about its impact on the pupils' health.

Objective: To study the incidence of asthma diagnosis and self-reported allergy in schoolchildren in relation to the school environment.

Design: Data on asthma and allergies were collected through a postal questionnaire answered in 1993 and 1997 by 1347 (78%) pupils (initially aged 7-13 years) in 39 randomly chosen schools. Indoor pollutants were measured in about 100 classrooms in 1993 and 1995. Relationships between indoor pollutants and incidence of asthma diagnosis and self-reported allergy were studied by multiple logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, atopy and smoking.

Results: The incidence of asthma diagnosis was higher in pupils attending schools with more settled dust and more cat allergen (Fel d 1) in this dust. Incidence of self-reported furry pet allergy was higher in schools with more respirable particles. Among children without a history of atopy, a new asthma diagnosis was more common at higher concentrations of formaldehyde and total moulds in the classroom air.

Conclusion: A school environment with more dust, cat allergen, formaldehyde and moulds may affect the incidence of asthma and sensitivity to furry pets in schoolchildren.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Microbiology
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Allergens / analysis
  • Animals
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Cats
  • Child
  • Dogs
  • Dust / analysis
  • Female
  • Formaldehyde / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Schools*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Allergens
  • Dust
  • Formaldehyde