Residential proximity to major roadways is associated with increased prevalence of allergic respiratory symptoms in children
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Department of Clinical and Environmental Allergology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2014;21(4):760–766
Introduction and objective:
Numerous epidemiologic studies have reported increased risk of allergic rhinitis and asthma in relation to ‘western life-style’, which represents diversity of factors. We hypothesized that residential proximity to major roadways, reflecting an exposure to traffic-related air pollution, is associated with prevalence of allergic respiratory symptoms in children.

Material and Methods:
A total of 8290 individuals of two age groups: 16 year olds and 7 year olds from Krakow, Poland were included. We used the Polish version of the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood supplemented with a question concerning the distance between a responder’s house and a high traffic density road: below 200 m, from 200–500 m, or more than 500 m.

Children and adolescents with a residential proximity closer to a major roadway had more frequent asthma-related symptoms in the last 12 months and at any time in the past. Consistent with the increased frequency of asthmatic symptoms, responders residing within 200 meters complained more often of sneezing, runny or blocked nose accompanied by itchy-watery eyes and hay fever in comparison to responders who resided 200–500 meters from a major roadway. The lowest rate of nasal symptoms was observed in residents living in the distance to major roads (>500 meters). The rate of positive answers decreased in a distant-dependent manner.

Our findings suggest an important spatial relationship between the distance from a major roadway and the evaluated respiratory symptoms. The results emphasize the need for more comprehensive air quality policies within urban areas with increased motor vehicle density.