Exposure to traffic: lung function and health status in adults with asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Mar;123(3):626-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2008.10.062. Epub 2009 Jan 18.


Background: Exposure to traffic has been associated with asthma outcomes in children, but its effect on asthma in adults has not been well studied.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that lung function and health status are associated with traffic exposures.

Methods: We measured FEV(1) % predicted, general health status using the Physical Component Scale of the 12-item Short Form (SF-12 PCS), and quality of life (QoL) using the Marks Asthma Quality of Life questionnaire in a cohort of adults with asthma or rhinitis (n = 176; 145 with asthma). We assessed exposures to traffic by geocoding subjects' residential addresses and assigning distance to roadways. Associations between distance to nearest roadway and distance to nearest major roadway and FEV(1) % predicted or SF-12 PCS were studied by using linear regression.

Results: FEV(1) % predicted was positively associated with distance from both nearest roadway (P = .01) and nearest major roadway (P = .02). SF-12 PCS and QoL were not significantly associated with either traffic variable. Adjustment for income, smoking, and obesity did not substantively change the associations of the traffic variables with FEV(1) % predicted (P = .04 for nearest roadway and P = .02 for nearest major roadway) and did not cause associations with either SF-12 PCS or QoL to become significant.

Conclusions: Traffic exposure was associated with decreased lung function in adults with asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity*
  • Young Adult


  • Vehicle Emissions