Living near main streets and respiratory symptoms in adults: the Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults

Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Dec 15;164(12):1190-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwj338. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


The Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA), conducted in 1991 (SAPALDIA 1) in eight areas among 9,651 randomly selected adults aged 18-60 years, reported associations among the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, nitrogen dioxide, and particles with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 microg/m3. Later, 8,047 subjects reenrolled in 2002 (SAPALDIA 2). The effects of individually assigned traffic exposures on reported respiratory symptoms were estimated, while controlling for socioeconomic and exposure- and health-related factors. The risk of attacks of breathlessness increased for all subjects by 13% (95% confidence interval: 3, 24) per 500-m increment in the length of main street segments within 200 m of the home and decreased in never smokers by 12% (95% confidence interval: 0, 22) per 100-m increment in distance from home to a main street. Living within 20 m of a main street increased the risks of regular phlegm by 15% (95% confidence interval: 0, 31) and wheezing with breathing problems by 34% (95% confidence interval: 0, 79) in never smokers. In 2002, the effects related to road distance were different from those in 1991, which could be due to changes in the traffic pollution mixture. These findings among a general population provide strong confirmation that living near busy streets leads to adverse respiratory health effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Pollution*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Urban Health*
  • Vehicle Emissions


  • Vehicle Emissions