The association of early-life exposure to air pollution with lung function at ~17.5 years in the “Children of 1997” Hong Kong Chinese Birth Cohort

Baoting He, Jian V. Huang, Man Ki Kwok, Shiu Lun Au Yeung, Lai Ling Hui, Albert M. Li, Gabriel M. Leung, C. Mary Schooling

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Early-life air pollution exposure is associated with lung function in children and adolescents. However, whether the association of prenatal and early postnatal exposure to air pollution with lung function continues into adulthood remains unclear. Objective: To investigate the associations of early exposure to air pollution with lung function at ~17.5 years in a non-western developed setting with more concentrated air pollutants. Methods: We examined the associations of exposure to particular matter with an aerodynamic diameter of <10 μm (PM10), nitrogen dioxides (NO2), nitric oxide (NO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) in standard deviations (SD)) at different early life stages with lung function (indicated by forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and forced expiratory flow at 25%–75% of the pulmonary volume (FEF25%–75%)) in SD at ~17.5 years, personal history of wheezing and asthma in the population-representative Hong Kong Chinese birth cohort “Children of 1997”(n = 2942). Results: Higher in utero and infancy and toddlerhood NO2 were associated with lower FEV1 (−0.022, 95% confidence interval (CI) –0.029 to −0.015 and − 0.026, 95% CI –0.033 to −0.019), FEV1/FVC (−0.035, 95% CI –0.050 to −0.021 and –0.052, 95% CI –0.066 to −0.038) and FEF25%–75% (−0.031, 95% CI –0.040 to −0.022 and –0.043, 95% CI –0.051 to −0.035). A similar association was observed for NO. Weak associations of NO2 and NO with FVC were observed (–0.011, 95% CI –0.018 to −0.003 and –0.010, 95% CI –0.020 to −0.001). NOx was associated with higher risk of wheezing (1.08, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.14) but not asthma (1.02, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.11). SO2 and PM10 were not clearly associated with lung function, wheezing or asthma. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that early exposure to air pollution from NO2 may have long-term effects on lung function, which could affect respiratory health throughout life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-450
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment international
Volume123
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science

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