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Impacts of highway traffic exhaust in alpine valleys on the respiratory health in adults: a cross-sectional study

Hazenkamp-von Arx, Marianne E. and Schindler, Christian and Ragettli, Martina S. and Künzli, Nino and Braun-Fahrländer, Charlotte and Liu, Lee-Jane S.. (2011) Impacts of highway traffic exhaust in alpine valleys on the respiratory health in adults: a cross-sectional study. Environmental Health, 10. p. 13.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Most studies having shown respiratory health effects from traffic exhaust were conducted in urban areas with a complex mixture of air pollution sources. This study has investigated the potential impact of traffic exhaust on respiratory symptoms among adults living along a Swiss alpine highway corridor, where traffic exhaust from the respective trans-Alpine highway is the predominant source of air pollution.
METHODS: In summer 2005, we recruited 1839 adults aged 15 to 70 from a random sample of 10 communities along the Swiss alpine highway corridors. Subjects answered a questionnaire on respiratory health (asthmatic and bronchitic symptoms), risk factors, and potential confounding variables. We used logistic regression models to assess associations between respiratory symptoms and traffic exposure being defined a) as living within 200 m of the highway, and b) as a bell-shaped function simulating the decrease of pollution levels with increasing distance to the highway.
RESULTS: Positive associations were found between living close to a highway and wheezing without cold (OR = 3.10, 95%-CI: 1.27-7.55) and chronic cough (OR = 2.88, 95%-CI: 1.17-7.05). The models using a bell-shaped function suggested that symptoms reached background levels after 400-500 m from the highway. The association with chronic cough was driven by a subgroup reporting hay fever or allergic rhinitis.
CONCLUSIONS: Highway traffic exhaust in alpine highway corridors, in the absence of other industrial sources, showed negative associations with the respiratory health of adults, higher than those previously found in urban areas.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Environmental Exposures and Health > Physical Hazards and Health (Röösli)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Environmental Exposures (Liu)
UniBasel Contributors:Braun-Fahrländer, Charlotte and Schindler, Christian and Liu, Lee-Jane S. and Künzli, Nino
Item Type:Article, refereed
Publisher:BioMed Central
e-ISSN:1476-069X
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:24 Aug 2017 14:54
Deposited On:11 Oct 2012 15:30

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