Background: Few studies have investigated new onset of asthma in adults in relation to air pollution. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between modeled background levels of traffic-related air pollution at the subjects' home addresses and self-reported asthma incidence in a European adult population.
Methods: Adults from the European Respiratory Health Survey were included (n = 4185 from 17 cities). Subjects' home addresses were geocoded and linked to outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2) estimates, as a marker of local traffic-related pollution. We obtained this information from the 1-km background NO2 surface modeled in APMoSPHERE (Air Pollution Modelling for Support to Policy on Health and Environmental Risk in Europe). Asthma incidence was defined as reporting asthma in the follow-up (1999 to 2001) but not in the baseline (1991 to 1993).
Results: A positive association was found between NO2 and asthma incidence (odds ratio 1.43; 95% confidence interval = 1.02 to 2.01) per 10 microg/m. Results were homogeneous among centers (P value for heterogeneity = 0.59).
Conclusions: We found an association between a marker of traffic-related air pollution and asthma incidence in European adults.