Background: Associations between traffic pollution on the street of residence and a range of respiratory and allergic outcomes in children have been reported in developed countries, but little is known about such associations in developing countries.
Methods: The third phase of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) was carried out in 13- to 14-year-old and 6- to 7-year-old children across the world. A question about frequency of truck traffic on the street of residence was included in an additional questionnaire. We investigated the association between self-reported truck traffic on the street of residence and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema with logistic regression. Adjustments were made for sex, region of the world, language, gross national income, and 10 other subject-specific covariates.
Results: Frequency of truck traffic on the street of residence was positively associated with the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema with an exposure-response relationship. Odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for "current wheeze" and "almost the whole day" versus "never" truck traffic were 1.35 (1.23-1.49) for 13- to 14-year-olds and 1.35 (1.22-1.48) for 6- to 7-year-olds.
Conclusions: Higher exposure to self-reported truck traffic on the street of residence is associated with increased reports of symptoms of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema in many locations in the world. These findings require further investigation in view of increasing exposure of the world's children to traffic.
Keywords: air pollution; asthma; eczema; rhinitis; truck traffic.