Rationale: Adverse effects of exposures to ambient air pollution on lung function are well documented, but evidence in racial/ethnic minority children is lacking.
Objectives: To assess the relationship between air pollution and lung function in minority children with asthma and possible modification by global genetic ancestry.
Methods: The study population consisted of 1,449 Latino and 519 African American children with asthma from five different geographical regions in the mainland United States and Puerto Rico. We examined five pollutants (particulate matter ≤10 μm and ≤2.5 μm in diameter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide), derived from participant residential history and ambient air monitoring data, and assessed over several time windows. We fit generalized additive models for associations between pollutant exposures and lung function parameters and tested for interaction terms between exposures and genetic ancestry.
Measurements and main results: A 5 μg/m(3) increase in average lifetime particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 μm in diameter exposure was associated with a 7.7% decrease in FEV1 (95% confidence interval = -11.8 to -3.5%) in the overall study population. Global genetic ancestry did not appear to significantly modify these associations, but percent African ancestry was a significant predictor of lung function.
Conclusions: Early-life particulate exposures were associated with reduced lung function in Latino and African American children with asthma. This is the first study to report an association between exposure to particulates and reduced lung function in minority children in which racial/ethnic status was measured by ancestry-informative markers.
Keywords: air pollution; ancestry; children; lung function; minority.