Association between Traffic-Related Black Carbon Exposure and Lung Function among Urban Women
Suglia, Shakira Franco, Gryparis, Alexandros, Schwartz, Joel, Wright, Rosalind J., Environmental Health Perspectives
BACKGROUND: Although a number of studies have documented the relationship between lung function and traffic-related pollution among children, few have focused on adult lung function or examined community-based populations.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the relationship between black carbon (BC), a surrogate of traffic-related particles, and lung function among women in the Maternal-Infant Smoking Study of East Boston, an urban cohort in Boston, Massachusetts.
METHODS: We estimated local BC levels using a validated spatiotemporal land-use regression model, derived using ambient and indoor monitor data. We examined associations between percent predicted pulmonary function and predicted BC using linear regression, adjusting for sociodemo-graphics (individual and neighborhood levels), smoking status, occupational exposure, type of cooking fuel, and a diagnosis of asthma or chronic bronchitis.
RESULTS: The sample of 272 women 18-42 years of age included 57% who self-identified as Hispanic versus 43% white, and 18% who were current smokers. Mean [+ or -] SD predicted annual BC exposure level was 0.62[+ or -] 0.2 [micro]g/[m.sup.3]. In adjusted analysis, BC (per interquartile range increase) was associated with a 1.1% decrease [95% confidence interval (CI),-2.5% to 0.3%] in forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, a 0.6% decrease (95% CI, -1.9% to 0.6%) in forced vital capacity, and a 3.0% decrease (95% CI, -5.8% to -0.2%) in forced mid-expiratory flow rate. We noted differential effects by smoking status in that former smokers were most affected by BC exposure, whereas current smokers were not affected.
CONCLUSION: In this cohort, exposure to traffic-related BC, a component of particulate matter, independently predicted decreased lung function in urban women, when adjusting for tobacco smoke, asthma diagnosis, and socioeconomic status.
KEY WORDS: air pollution, lung function, particles, traffic. Environ Health Perspect 116:1333-1337 (2008). doi:10.1289/ehp.11223 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 4 June 2008]
It is well documented that air pollution is associated with a number of respiratory and cardiovascular adverse health effects (Beelen et al. 2008; Downs et al. 2007; Katsouyanni et al. 1997; Schwartz 1996; Schwartz et al. 2005). Many of these effects seem more strongly associated with particles from traffic (McCreanor et al. 2007; Schwartz et al. 2005), which are rich in elemental carbon and are the principle source of ultrafine particle exposure. Concentrations of traffic-related pollutants [i.e., particulate matter (PM), black carbon (BC), nitrogen dioxide] have been found to increase respiratory symptoms among children (Kim et al. 2004). Among children, long-term exposure to air pollution (Schwartz 1989, 2004) and indicators of increased traffic exposure (Brunekreef et al. 1997; Gauderman et al. 2007; Wjst et al. 1993) have been associated with reduced levels of lung function, a more objective measure of respiratory health.
A few studies have examined the relationship between lung function and long-term exposure to traffic pollution among adults. Among those that have, reduced lung function has been demonstrated among adults with increased traffic exposure (Evans et al. 1988; Kan et al. 2007; Karita et al. 2001; Schikowski et al. 2005; Sekine et al. 2004), although some studies have found no association (Nakai et al. 1999; Tollerud et al. 1983). Furthermore, these studies have focused largely on occupational populations (Evans et al. 1988; Karita et al. 2001; Raaschou-Nielsen et al. 1995; Tollerud et al. 1983), whereas data on community-based populations remain sparse (Kan et al. 2007; Schikowski et al. 2005; Sekine et al. 2004).
In a community-based study of women 30-59 years of age in Tokyo, Japan, Sekine et al. (2004) reported decreased lung function among women living in districts with high traffic density (> 20,000 vehicles) compared with women living in districts with lower average traffic density. A recent community-based study in four communities in the United States demonstrated decreased lung function among middle-age women related to increased traffic density and closer proximity to major roadways (Kan et al. 2007). We expand this work by examining BC from mobile sources estimated using a validated spatiotemporal land-use regression model as a surrogate of traffic particles. BC from traffic sources has been associated with increased risk of asthma and bronchitis among children (Kim et al. 2004), and elemental carbon has been associated with decreased growth in lung function, also among children (Gauderman et al. 2004).
Our goal in this study was to examine the relationship between long-term exposure to BC from traffic sources, a component of PM, and lung function among women of childbearing age followed in a prospective urban community-based cohort study of mother-child pairs.
Materials and Methods
Study population. Women were voluntary participants in the Maternal-Infant Smoking Study of East Boston, a prospective cohort originally designed to study the effects of pre-and postnatal tobacco smoke exposure on childhood lung growth and development and respiratory health. The study has been described in detail previously (Hanrahan et al. 1992). In brief, pregnant women receiving prenatal care (< 20th week of gestation) at an urban community health center in Boston, Massachusetts, were recruited during the study's enrollment period, between March 1986 and October 1992. A total of 848 women delivered a full-term infant and remained eligible for postnatal follow-up. A random sample of women was approached for lung function testing; 272 women completed the test and had their home addresses successfully geocoded. There were no significant …
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Publication information: Article title: Association between Traffic-Related Black Carbon Exposure and Lung Function among Urban Women. Contributors: Suglia, Shakira Franco - Author, Gryparis, Alexandros - Author, Schwartz, Joel - Author, Wright, Rosalind J. - Author. Journal title: Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume: 116. Issue: 10 Publication date: October 2008. Page number: 1333+. © 2006 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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