Air pollution and respiratory health of children: the PEACE panel study in Hettstedt and Zerbst., Eastern Germany.

U. Beyer, K. Franke, J. Cyrus, A. Peters, J. Heinrich, H.E. Wichmann, B. Brunekreef

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    A multicentre study (Pollution Effects on Asthmatic Children in Europe (PEACE) study) investigated the relationship between the daily variation of respiratory health and air pollution in children with chronic respiratory symptoms. Data were collected for 75 children in Hettstedt (polluted) and 63 children in Zerbst (control), Eastern Germany. The panels were followed from October 1993 to March 1994. Compared to all participating centres, these panels were the youngest and were in the healthiest condition. Respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flow (PEF) were recorded daily in a diary. Ambient air pollutants as well as meteorological parameters were measured at local monitoring stations on a daily basis. During an episode in November, SO2 levels went up to 499 and 363 μg·m-3. The particles with a 50% cut-off aerodynamic diameter of 10 μm (PM10) values in the urban and in the control region ranged 1-95 μg·m-3, but were missing during the SO2 episode in November due to technical problems. The association between air pollution and health outcomes was analysed using regression models. In Zerbst, the control area, no association between elevated levels of air pollution and respiratory health were observed. In Hettstedt, the urban area, a significant decrease in PEF as well as an increase of cough in association with increased levels of PM10 was observed. Prolonged exposure to PM10 quantified by a 7 day mean showed the largest estimates. The results presented here suggest small adverse health effects of low levels of inhalable particles in a group of children with a low prevalence of respiratory symptoms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-69
    JournalEuropean Respiratory Review
    Issue number52
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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