The Syracuse, NY, AUDIT (Assessment of Urban Dwellings for Indoor Toxics) study was designed to quantify asthma agent levels in the inner-city homes of a birth cohort whose mothers had a diagnosis of asthma. Risk of exposure to particulate matter (PM), particle number and tobacco smoke was assessed in 103 infants' homes. Repeat measurements were made in 44% of the homes. Infants also were examined on a quarterly basis during the first year of life to monitor their respiratory health and urine cotinine levels. Overall geometric mean (GM) values for PM(2.5) of 21.2 μg/m(3) and for PM(10) of 31.8 μg/m(3) were recorded in homes at visit 1. GM values for PM(2.5) and PM(10) in smoking homes were higher at 26.3 and 37.7 μg/m(3), while values in non-smoking homes were 12.7 and 21.2 μg/m(3) respectively. Fifty-four percent of mothers (55/103) smoked at some point in pregnancy (39% smoked throughout pregnancy). Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure occurred in 68% of homes during the infants' first year. Significant to this study was the size- and time-resolved monitoring of PM at 140 home visits and the classification of PM count data. PM number counts ranged from continuously low levels (little indoor activity) to continuously high counts (constant indoor activity), and recorded apparent instances of prolonged repeated cigarette smoking. Wheezing in the first year of life was recorded for 38% of the infants (39/103). Adjusted logistic regression modeling demonstrated that elevated levels of indoor PM(2.5) (≥ 15 μg/m(3)) were a significant risk factor for infant wheezing after controlling for infant gender, mothers' age and education level, season of home visit and presence of carpeting (OR 4.21; 95% CI 1.36-13.03; p=0.013). An elevated level of the nicotine metabolite cotinine in infant urine also was associated with infant wheezing after adjusting for infant gender, mothers' age and education level (OR 5.10; 95% CI 0.96-27.24; p=0.057). ETS exposure was pervasive in the AUDIT cohort and a risk for developing infants in this urban population.
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