Domestic airborne pollutants and asthma and respiratory symptoms in middle age
Desiree Mészáros1, John Burgess3, E. Haydn Walters1, David Johns, James Markos, Graham Giles, John Hopper, Michael Abramson, Shyamali C. Dharmage, and Melanie Matheson
Background and objective
The role of indoor air pollution as a risk factor for asthma and respiratory symptoms in middle age is unclear. We investigated associations between indoor air pollution sources and (i) asthma phenotypes and (ii) asthma-related respiratory symptoms in middle-aged adults.
Subjects (n = 5729) who participated in the 2004 survey of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study completed respiratory and home environment questionnaires. Associations between indoor air pollution sources, and asthma phenotypes and asthma-related respiratory symptoms were estimated.
Recent mould in the home was associated with current asthma (odds ratio (OR) 1.26; 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.50), wheeze (OR 1.34; 1.17–1.54) and nocturnal chest tightness (OR 1.30; 1.12–1.51). Stratified by atopy and gender, recent mould was associated with current non-atopic asthma only in males (OR 3.73; 1.29–10.80). More rooms affected by mould were associated with significant trends for current asthma, wheeze and nocturnal chest tightness. Home environmental tobacco smoke was associated with doctor-diagnosed asthma (OR 1.25; 1.02–1.53), wheeze (OR 1.69; 1.41–2.03), nocturnal chest tightness (OR 1.54; 1.26–1.88), with current asthma only in non-smokers (OR 2.09; 95%: 1.30–3.35) and with current asthma only in males (OR 1.74; 95%: 1.25–2.42). Among heating appliances, reverse cycle air conditioning was negatively associated with doctor-diagnosed asthma (OR 0.84; 0.70–1.00). Neither electric nor gas stove use was associated with either asthma phenotype or with asthma-related respiratory symptoms.
In middle age, reducing home exposure to mould and environmental tobacco smoke might reduce asthma and asthma-related respiratory symptoms.