Rationale: Although short-term exposure to air pollution has been associated with acute, reversible lung function decrements, the impact of long-term exposure has not been well established.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between long-term exposure to ozone (O(3)), particulate matter less than 10 mum in diameter (PM(10)), and nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) and lung function growth in Mexico City schoolchildren.
Methods: A dynamic cohort of 3,170 children aged 8 years at baseline was followed from April 23, 1996, through May 19, 1999. The children attended 39 randomly selected elementary schools located near 10 air quality monitoring stations and were visited every 6 months. Statistical analyses were performed using general linear mixed models.
Measurements and main results: After adjusting for acute exposure and other potential confounding factors, deficits in FVC and FEV(1) growth over the 3-year follow-up period were significantly associated with exposure to O(3), PM(10), and NO(2). In multipollutant models, an interquartile range (IQR) increase in mean O(3) concentration (IQR, 11.3 ppb) was associated with an annual deficit in FEV(1) of 12 ml in girls and 4 ml in boys, an IQR range (IQR, 36.4 microg/m(3)) increase in PM(10) with an annual deficit in FEV(1) of 11 ml in girls and 15 ml in boys, and an IQR range (IQR, 12.0 ppb) increase in NO(2) with an annual deficit in FEV(1) of 30 ml in girls and 25 ml in boys.
Conclusions: We conclude that long-term exposure to O(3), PM(10), and NO(2) is associated with a deficit in FVC and FEV(1) growth among schoolchildren living in Mexico City.