There is increasing recognition of the importance of early environmental exposures in the development of childhood asthma. Outdoor air pollution is a recognized asthma trigger, but it is unclear whether exposure influences incident disease. We investigated the effect of exposure to ambient air pollution in utero and during the first year of life on risk of subsequent asthma diagnosis in a population-based nested case-control study.
We assessed all children born in southwestern British Columbia in 1999 and 2000 (n = 37,401) for incidence of asthma diagnosis up to 34 years of age using outpatient and hospitalization records. Asthma cases were age- and sex-matched to five randomly chosen controls from the eligible cohort. We estimated each individual's exposure to ambient air pollution for the gestational period and first year of life using high-resolution pollution surfaces derived from regulatory monitoring data as well as land use regression models adjusted for temporal variation. We used logistic regression analyses to estimate effects of carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter
Epidemiological studies of traffic-related air pollution typically estimate exposures at residential locations only; however, if study subjects spend time away from home, exposure measurement error, and therefore bias, may be introduced into epidemiological analyses. For two study areas (Vancouver, British Columbia, and Southern California), we use paired residence- and mobility-based estimates of individual exposure to ambient nitrogen dioxide, and apply error theory to calculate bias for scenarios when mobility is not considered. In Vancouver, the mean bias was 0.84 (range: 0.79-0.89; SD: 0.01), indicating potential bias of an effect estimate toward the null by ~16% when using residence-based exposure estimates. Bias was more strongly negative (mean: 0.70, range: 0.63-0.77, SD: 0.02) when the underlying pollution estimates had higher spatial variation (land-use regression versus monitor interpolation). In Southern California, bias was seen to become more strongly negative with increasing time and distance spent away from home (e.g., 0.99 for 0-2?h spent at least 10?km away, 0.66 for = 10?h spent at least 40?km away). Our results suggest that ignoring daily mobility patterns can contribute to bias toward the null hypothesis in epidemiological studies using individual-level exposure estimates.
There is accumulating evidence that air pollution causes lung cancer. Still, questions remain about exposure misclassification, the components of air pollution responsible, and the histological subtypes of lung cancer that might be produced.
We investigated lung cancer incidence in relation to long-term exposure to three ambient air pollutants and proximity to major roads, using a Canadian population-based case-control study. We compared 2,390 incident, histologically confirmed lung cancer cases with 3,507 population controls in eight Canadian provinces from 1994 to 1997. We developed spatiotemporal models for the whole country to estimate annual residential exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) over a 20-year exposure period. We carried out a subanalysis in urban centers, using exposures derived from fixed-site air pollution monitors, and also examined traffic proximity measures. Hierarchical logistic regression models incorporated a comprehensive set of individual and geographic covariates.
The increase in lung cancer incidence (expressed as fully adjusted odds ratios [ORs]) was 1.29 (95% confidence interval = 0.95-1.76) with a ten-unit increase in PM2.5 (µg/m), 1.11 (1.00-1.24) with a ten-unit increase in NO2 (ppb), and 1.09 (0.85-1.39) with a ten-unit increase in O3 (ppb). The urban monitor-based subanalyses generally supported the national results, with larger associations for NO2 (OR = 1.34; 1.07-1.69) per 10 ppb increase. No dose-response trends were observed, and no clear relationships were found for specific histological cancer subtypes. There was the suggestion of increased risk among those living within 100 m of highways, but not among those living near major roads.
Lung cancer incidence in this Canadian study was increased most strongly with NO2 and PM2.5 exposure. Further investigation is needed into possible effects of O3 on development of lung cancer.
Neighbourhood socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with numerous chronic diseases, yet little information exists on its association with lung cancer incidence. This outcome presents two key empirical challenges: a long latency period that requires study participants' residential histories and long-term neighbourhood characteristics; and adequate data on many risk factors to test hypothesized mediating pathways between neighbourhood SES and lung cancer incidence. Analysing data on urban participants of a large Canadian population-based lung cancer case-control study, we investigate three issues pertaining to these challenges. First, we examine whether there is an association between long-term neighbourhood SES, derived from 20 years of residential histories and five national censuses, and lung cancer incidence. Second, we determine how this long-term neighbourhood SES association changes when using neighbourhood SES measures based on different latency periods or at time of study entry. Third, we estimate the extent to which long-term neighbourhood SES is mediated by a range of individual-level smoking behaviours, other health behaviours, and environmental and occupational exposures. Results of hierarchical logistic regression models indicate significantly higher odds of lung cancer cases residing in the most compared to the least deprived quintile of the long-term neighbourhood SES index (OR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.13-1.89) after adjustment for individual SES. This association remained significant (OR: 1.38; 1.01-1.88) after adjusting for smoking behaviour and other known and suspected lung cancer risk factors. Important differences were observed between long-term and study entry neighbourhood SES measures, with the latter attenuating effect estimates by over 50 percent. Smoking behaviour was the strongest partial mediating pathway of the long-term neighbourhood SES effect. This research is the first to examine the effects of long-term neighbourhood SES on lung cancer risk and more research is needed to further identify specific, modifiable pathways by which neighbourhood context may influence lung cancer risk.
Few epidemiological studies of air pollution have used residential histories to develop long-term retrospective exposure estimates for multiple ambient air pollutants and vehicle and industrial emissions. We present such an exposure assessment for a Canadian population-based lung cancer case-control study of 8353 individuals using self-reported residential histories from 1975 to 1994. We also examine the implications of disregarding and/or improperly accounting for residential mobility in long-term exposure assessments.
National spatial surfaces of ambient air pollution were compiled from recent satellite-based estimates (for PM2.5 and NO2) and a chemical transport model (for O3). The surfaces were adjusted with historical annual air pollution monitoring data, using either spatiotemporal interpolation or linear regression. Model evaluation was conducted using an independent ten percent subset of monitoring data per year. Proximity to major roads, incorporating a temporal weighting factor based on Canadian mobile-source emission estimates, was used to estimate exposure to vehicle emissions. A comprehensive inventory of geocoded industries was used to estimate proximity to major and minor industrial emissions.
Calibration of the national PM2.5 surface using annual spatiotemporal interpolation predicted historical PM2.5 measurement data best (R2 = 0.51), while linear regression incorporating the national surfaces, a time-trend and population density best predicted historical concentrations of NO2 (R2 = 0.38) and O3 (R2 = 0.56). Applying the models to study participants residential histories between 1975 and 1994 resulted in mean PM2.5, NO2 and O3 exposures of 11.3 µg/m3 (SD = 2.6), 17.7 ppb (4.1), and 26.4 ppb (3.4) respectively. On average, individuals lived within 300 m of a highway for 2.9 years (15% of exposure-years) and within 3 km of a major industrial emitter for 6.4 years (32% of exposure-years). Approximately 50% of individuals were classified into a different PM2.5, NO2 and O3 exposure quintile when using study entry postal codes and spatial pollution surfaces, in comparison to exposures derived from residential histories and spatiotemporal air pollution models. Recall bias was also present for self-reported residential histories prior to 1975, with cases recalling older residences more often than controls.
We demonstrate a flexible exposure assessment approach for estimating historical air pollution concentrations over large geographical areas and time-periods. In addition, we highlight the importance of including residential histories in long-term exposure assessments. For submission to: Environmental Health.
Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jun;109(6):633-911445519