The effect of domestic factors on respiratory symptoms and FEV1

Int J Epidemiol. 1989 Jun;18(2):390-6. doi: 10.1093/ije/18.2.390.


This study was conducted to determine whether indoor air pollution factors affected respiratory function and symptoms in 1357 non-smoking Caucasian children. Interviews were conducted to determine: exposure to pets and to gases, vapours and dusts from hobbies; the use of gas stoves; fireplaces, air conditioners and humidifiers; type of heating systems; and the number of residents, and the number of smokers in the home. The forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was obtained from maximum expiratory flow volume curves, and symptoms from the application of a standardized questionnaire. Indoor pets and the use of fireplaces and humidifiers had no consistent relationships with FEV1 when considered individually or in combination with the other factors. Hobbies, the use of gas stoves, the absence of air conditioning, the use of hot water heating, crowded homes, and the presence of smokers in the home all had negative relationships with FEV1. The largest effect on lung function was observed in children from homes with hot water heating systems, whereas the smallest effect was observed in children with smokers in the home. Children who lived in homes with hot water heating systems with no air conditioning had mean FEV1 of up to 0.4 litres lower than did their counterparts who lived in homes with forced air heating and air conditioning. Pets, heating systems, cooking fuel, crowding and passive smoking showed no consistent effects on the reporting of any of the symptoms. Girls who were exposed to the emissions from indoor hobbies reported more phlegm, wheeze and dyspnoea.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates
  • Forced Expiratory Volume*
  • Household Articles
  • Household Products
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiration Disorders / physiopathology*