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PloS one

Effects of Air Pollution and the Introduction of the London Low Emission Zone on the Prevalence of Respiratory and Allergic Symptoms in Schoolchildren in East London: A Sequential Cross-Sectional Study.


PMID 26295579

Abstract

The adverse effects of traffic-related air pollution on children's respiratory health have been widely reported, but few studies have evaluated the impact of traffic-control policies designed to reduce urban air pollution. We assessed associations between traffic-related air pollutants and respiratory/allergic symptoms amongst 8-9 year-old schoolchildren living within the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Information on respiratory/allergic symptoms was obtained using a parent-completed questionnaire and linked to modelled annual air pollutant concentrations based on the residential address of each child, using a multivariable mixed effects logistic regression analysis. Exposure to traffic-related air pollutants was associated with current rhinitis: NOx (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02), NO2 (1.03, 1.00-1.06), PM10 (1.16, 1.04-1.28) and PM2.5 (1.38, 1.08-1.78), all per μg/m3 of pollutant, but not with other respiratory/allergic symptoms. The LEZ did not reduce ambient air pollution levels, or affect the prevalence of respiratory/allergic symptoms over the period studied. These data confirm the previous association between traffic-related air pollutant exposures and symptoms of current rhinitis. Importantly, the London LEZ has not significantly improved air quality within the city, or the respiratory health of the resident population in its first three years of operation. This highlights the need for more robust measures to reduce traffic emissions.

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