Respiratory disease rates and pulmonary function in children associated with NO2 exposure

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1980 Jan;121(1):3-10. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1980.121.1.3.


As part of a long-range, prospective study of the health effects of air pollution, approximately 8,000 children from 6 yrs to 10 yrs of age from 6 communities had questionnaires completed by their parents and had simple spirometry performed in school. Comparisons were made between children living in homes with gas stoves and those living in homes with electric stoves. Children from households with gas stoves had a greater history of respiratory illness before age 2 (average difference, 32.5/1,000 children) and small but significantly lower levels of FEV1 and FVC corrected for height (average difference, 16 ml and 18 ml, respectively). These findings were not explained by differences in social class or by parental smoking habits. Measurements taken in the homes for 24-h periods showed that NO2 levels were 4 to 7 times higher in homes with gas stoves than in homes with electric stoves. However, these 24-h measurements were generally well below the current federal 24-h outdoor standard of 100 micrograms/m3. Short-term peak exposures, which were in excess of 1,100 micrograms/m3, regularly occurred in kitchens. Further work will be required to determine the importance of these short-term peaks in explaining the effects noted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Fossil Fuels / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / adverse effects*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vital Capacity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Nitrogen Dioxide