Indoor particulate matter increases asthma morbidity in children with non-atopic and atopic asthma

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011 Apr;106(4):308-15. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2011.01.015. Epub 2011 Feb 26.


Background: Compared with atopic asthma, fewer environmental modifications are recommended for non-atopic asthma in children.

Objective: To better understand the role of indoor pollutants in provoking non-atopic asthma, we investigated the effect of in-home particulate matter on asthma symptoms among non-atopic and atopic children living in inner-city Baltimore.

Methods: A cohort of 150 children ages 2 to 6 years with asthma underwent home environmental monitoring for 3-day intervals at baseline, 3, and 6 months. Children were classified as non-atopic if they were skin test negative to a panel of 14 aeroallergens. Caregivers completed questionnaires assessing symptoms and rescue medication use. Longitudinal data analysis included regression models with generalized estimating equations.

Results: Children were primarily African American from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and spent most of their time in the home. Thirty-one percent were non-atopic, and 69% were atopic. Among non-atopic and atopic children, increased in-home fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM2.5-10) particle concentrations were associated with significant increases in asthma symptoms and rescue medication use ranging from 7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0-15) to 14% (95% CI, 1-27) per 10 μg/m(3) increase in particle concentration after adjustment for confounders.

Conclusions: In-home particles similarly cause increased symptoms of asthma in non-atopic and atopic children. Environmental control strategies that reduce particle concentrations may prove to be an effective means of improving asthma outcomes, especially for non-atopic asthma, for which there are few environmental control practice recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Baltimore
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Particle Size
  • Skin Tests
  • Social Class


  • Allergens