Background: Several studies have demonstrated an association between the exposure to indoor air pollution (IAP) and childhood asthma. Evidence is suggesting that several air pollutants may contribute to both exacerbation and development of asthma, but some uncertainty remains concerning the specific causative role of IAP. This paper reports an epidemiologic study aiming to reduce the existing lacks on the association between long-term exposure to pollution mixtures and the development and exacerbation of childhood asthma.
Methods/design: Based on the implementation of the study in 8 nurseries and 8 primary schools, from which, 2 nurseries and 2 primary schools in sites influenced by traffic and other 2 nurseries and 2 primary schools in background sites at urban and rural areas, the study will analyse the exposure to both urban and rural pollution as well as to traffic emissions (some homes of the children will be included in the study). Furthermore, based on the answers to validated questionnaires (as those used in the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood - ISAAC) filled in by the parents and on medical exams, the study will assess the prevalence, incidence and exacerbation of asthma, thus considering both short and long-term effects. The approximate number of children in the study will never be less than 600, guaranteeing 80% of study power (significant at a 5% level).
Discussion: This study intends to contribute for the understanding of the role of environmental factors, namely indoor air pollution, on asthma considering a risk group of different ages, and for the development of preventive measures, which are considered priority issues by the European Commission, according to the European Environmental Agency and the World Health Organization.