A multicentre study of air pollution exposure and childhood asthma prevalence: the ESCAPE project

Anna Mölter, Angela Simpson, Dietrich Berdel, Bert Brunekreef, Adnan Custovic, Josef Cyrys, Johan de Jongste, Frank de Vocht, Elaine Fuertes, Ulrike Gehring, Olena Gruzieva, Joachim Heinrich, Gerard Hoek, Barbara Hoffmann, Claudia Klümper, Michal Korek, Thomas A J Kuhlbusch, Sarah Lindley, Dirkje Postma, Christina TischerAlet Wijga, Göran Pershagen, Raymond Agius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of six traffic-related air pollution metrics (nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 μm (PM10), PM2.5, coarse particulate matter and PM2.5 absorbance) on childhood asthma and wheeze prevalence in five European birth cohorts: MAAS (England, UK), BAMSE (Sweden), PIAMA (the Netherlands), GINI and LISA (both Germany, divided into north and south areas). Land-use regression models were developed for each study area and used to estimate outdoor air pollution exposure at the home address of each child. Information on asthma and current wheeze prevalence at the ages of 4-5 and 8-10 years was collected using validated questionnaires. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyse the association between pollutant exposure and asthma within each cohort. Random-effects meta-analyses were used to combine effect estimates from individual cohorts. The meta-analyses showed no significant association between asthma prevalence and air pollution exposure (e.g. adjusted OR (95%CI) for asthma at age 8-10 years and exposure at the birth address (n = 10377): 1.10 (0.81-1.49) per 10 μg·m(-3) nitrogen dioxide; 0.88 (0.63-1.24) per 10 μg·m(-3) PM10; 1.23 (0.78-1.95) per 5 μg·m(-3) PM2.5). This result was consistently found in initial crude models, adjusted models and further sensitivity analyses. This study found no significant association between air pollution exposure and childhood asthma prevalence in five European birth cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-624
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2014

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