Study: Indoor Nitrogen Dioxide Levels and Asthma Symptoms among Children

In a study published in the October edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers investigated the effect of indoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations on asthma morbidity in an inner-city population. The researchers recruited 150 children (ages 2 through 6 years) with physician-diagnosed asthma from inner-city Baltimore, Maryland. Indoor air was monitored at three different time intervals and at each visit, the child’s caregiver completed a questionnaire assessing asthma symptoms and recent health care utilization. The majority of children were African American, male, and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The results showed that the presence of a gas stove and the use of a space heater or oven/stove for heat were independently associated with higher NO2 concentrations. Increase in NO2 exposure was associated with increased asthma symptoms such as cough, limited speech, and night-time symptoms. The authors concluded that interventions aimed at lowering NO2 concentrations in inner-city homes may reduce asthma morbidity in this population.

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