Using air pollution based community clusters to explore air pollution health effects in children

Environ Int. 2004 Jul;30(5):611-20. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2003.11.003.


To study respiratory health effects of long-term exposure to ambient air pollutant mixture, we observed 7058 school children 5-16 years of age living in the four Chinese cities of Lanzhou, Chongqing, Wuhan, and Guangzhou. These children were enrolled from elementary schools located in eight districts, one urban district and one suburban district in each of the above cities. Ambient levels of PM(2.5), PM(10-2.5), total suspended particles (TSP), SO(2), and NO(x) were measured in these districts from 1993 to 1996. Based on a cluster analysis of arithmetic mean concentrations of PM(2.5), PM(10-2.5), (TSP-PM(10)), SO(2), and NO(x), we classified these children into four ordinal categories of exposure to ambient air pollutant mixtures. We tested for exposure-response relationships using logistic regression models, controlling for relevant covariates. We observed monotonic, positive relationships of exposure to the pollutant mixture with prevalence rates of cough with phlegm and wheeze. Other outcomes were not associated with the exposure in a monotonic exposure-response pattern. Even so, odds ratios for cough, phlegm, bronchitis, and asthma in the higher exposure district clusters were all higher than in the lowest exposure district cluster. We found evidence that exposure to the pollutant mixtures had adverse effects on children living in the four Chinese cities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollutants / poisoning*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cough
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Particle Size
  • Public Health*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Students


  • Air Pollutants