Formaldehyde Connection: Modeled Exposure Linked to Lower Respiratory Infections in Infants

By Barrett, Julia R. | Environmental Health Perspectives, November 2011 | Go to article overview

Formaldehyde Connection: Modeled Exposure Linked to Lower Respiratory Infections in Infants


Barrett, Julia R., Environmental Health Perspectives


Lower respiratory infections (LRIs) are common among infants, with risk increased by factors such as daycare attendance, older siblings, and parental history of asthma. The incidence of infections can also be exacerbated by environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. Formaldehyde, a known respiratory tract irritant, is ubiquitous in indoor environments, but little is known about the effects of chronic exposure in infants. A new study reveals that such exposure is associated with more LRIs during infancy [EHP 119(11):1653 -- 1658; Roda et al.].

The current study used data for 2,940 infants enrolled in Pollution and Asthma Risk: An Infant Study (PARIS), a cohort of healthy, full-term babies born at five Parisian hospitals from 2003 to 2006. Parental history of allergic conditions was obtained by interview, while medical records provided additional data on the newborns and their mothers. Multiple mailed questionnaires were used to gather information from parents about recent respiratory infection, wheezing, and eczema in their children at ages 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Details about home characteristics and family living conditions were collected by phone interview when infants were 1 month old, and mailed questionnaires captured changes at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Aldehyde air sampling measurements were conducted at 1, 6, 9, and 12 months in the homes of a subset of randomly selected infants, and data for 174 homes were joined with interview and questionnaire information to construct formaldehyde exposure models for all cohort infants. …

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