[Swiss Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA)]

Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1998 Jan 31;128(5):150-61.
[Article in French]


Long-term health effects of moderate ambient air pollution are rarely investigated. In Switzerland, no large-scale study has addressed this issue so far. Important results of the Swiss Study on Air Pollution and Lung Disease in Adults (SAPALDIA) are presented. During the period 1991-1993, SAPALDIA investigated a random population sample (18-60 years) in eight Swiss areas with different environmental characteristics (Aarau, Basel, Davos, Geneva, Lugano, Montana, Payerne, Wald). In total, 9651 adults (60%) participated in the cross-sectional investigation (part 1, 1991), consisting of the following standardized procedures: questionnaire (interview), forced expiratory lung function test, bronchial challenge with methacholine, atopy assessment (Phadiatop, unspecific total IgE), allergy skin tests, and endexpiratory CO-measurements. Subjects with a history of respiratory symptoms, increased bronchial reactivity, reduced lung function (FEV1/FVC < 80% predicted) and 150 healthy never-smokers were included in the subsequent diary study (part 2; n = 3281, 1992/93). Peak flow (morning and evening), symptoms, medication, personal activity and visits to the doctor were monitored. Across regions, annual mean values ranged from 9 to 52 mg/m3 (NO2) and 10 to 33 mg/m3 (PM10) respectively. Air pollution had effects on prevalence of dyspnea (+41% per 10 mg/m3 increment of the annual mean PM10, 95% CI 20-65%), on symptoms of chronic bronchitis (+31%, 10-55%), on FVC (-3.1%; -3.7 to -2.6%), and FEV1 (-1.1%; -1.7% to -0.5%), on the incidence of respiratory symptoms and the length of symptomfree intervals (11% change per 10 mg/m3 PM10), but not on the prevalence of asthma. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) showed impact on wheezing (OR 1.94; 1.39-2.70), asthma (1.39; 1.04-1.86), bronchitis (1.60; 1.24-2.08) and chronic bronchitis (1.50; 1.11-2.02). Health effects of moderate air pollution were confirmed in Switzerland. Although for the individual the relative risks are small, the public health impact may be considerable. An ongoing follow-up will investigate the mortality profile of the SAPALDIA cohort.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk
  • Switzerland / epidemiology