Volume 19 (2009) Issue 3 Pages 143-151
Background: We examined the association between short-term exposure to outdoor air pollution and nighttime primary care visits due to asthma attack. We also investigated the modifying effects of age on this association.
Methods: A case–crossover study was conducted at a primary care clinic in metropolitan Tokyo. The subjects were 308 children aged 0–14 years and 95 adolescents and adults aged 15–64 years. All subjects made visits to the clinic for an asthma attack at between 7 PM and 12 AM. Data on hourly concentrations of particulate matter with a 50% cut-off aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5), ozone, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were obtained. A conditional logistic regression model was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) of primary care visits per unit increment of each air pollutant.
Results: Among children, the ORs in warmer months per 10 ppb increment of the 24-hour mean concentration of ozone were 1.16 (95% confidential interval [CI], 1.00–1.33) adjusted for temperature, and 1.29 (95% CI, 1.08–1.55) adjusted for PM2.5, NO2, and temperature. With respect to modification of the association by age, the ORs for 24-hour mean concentration of ozone—after adjustment for PM2.5, NO2 and temperature in warmer months—in children aged 0–1 years, 2–5 years, and 6–14 years were 1.06 (95% CI, 0.63–1.78), 1.37 (95% CI, 1.05–1.71), and 1.25 (95% CI, 0.87–1.82), respectively. There was no association between ozone and primary care visits among adults.
Conclusions: An association was found between ozone and nighttime primary care visits for asthma attack in warmer months; the association was greater among preschool children.