Traffic air pollution and hospital admission for asthma: a case-control approach in a Turin (Italy) population

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2005 Mar;78(2):164-9. doi: 10.1007/s00420-004-0569-3. Epub 2005 Feb 22.


Objectives: This study investigated the relationship between traffic air pollution and asthma, using a case-control design applied to routinely collected data.

Methods: Subjects resident in Turin during the period 1997-1999 and admitted for asthma were defined as cases; patients admitted for causes other than respiratory diseases or heart diseases were defined as controls. Nitrogen dioxide and total suspended particulate were considered as indicators of traffic air pollution. Statistical analysis were performed, separately for young (0-14 years), adult (15-64 years) and elderly (>64 years) patients, with a logistic regression model; results are expressed as percentage of risk modification for a 10 g/m(3) increase in exposure to pollutants.

Results: The risk of emergency admissions for asthma rose significantly with increased exposure to nitrogen dioxide [2.4%, 95% Confidence Interval: 0.5%; 4.3%], and total suspended particulate [2.3%, 95% Confidence Interval: 1.1%-3.6%]. The significant association was evident, in particular, among young and elderly patients for both pollutants.

Conclusion: Using a case-control design both easy to use and manage, the study confirms the significant association between hospital emergency admissions for asthma and exposure to nitrogen dioxide and total suspended particulate pollutants.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / toxicity*
  • Particle Size
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seasons
  • Transportation
  • Vehicle Emissions / adverse effects*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Nitrogen Dioxide