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Do the maxima of air pollutants coincide with the incedence of childhood asthma in Athens, Greece?

  • Authors
    Nastos P.
    Paliatsos A.
    Priftis K.
Abstract

In the present study an assessment of the influence of the ambient air pollution on the
incidence of the Childhood Asthma Admissions (CAA) is attempted by using cross spectrum
analysis. The medical data concern the hospital registries of the three main Children’s
Hospitals of Athens for the 14-year period, 1987-2000. The air pollution data used in this
study were mean monthly concentrations of CO, Black Smoke (BS), NOx, SO2, and O3,
averaged over all the available stations, for each air pollutant, in the network of the Greek
Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works (GMEPPPW) for the
aforementioned 14-year period. The performed analysis revealed that a pronounced seasonal
variation of asthma exacerbation among Athenian children does exist, rising during the cold
damp period in pre-schoolers and peaking around May in the schoolchildren. We found that
asthma admissions are associated with ambient air pollution at different frequencies. Asthma
exacerbation among the first age group (0-4 years) is strongly depended on winter air
pollution whereas older children (5-14 years) appear to be more vulnerable to the exposure of
primary air pollutants mainly during late spring. Our findings strengthen the aspect that
weather conditions such as sea breeze, mainly happen at the late spring or early summer in
association with air pollution episodes could affect childhood asthma exacerbation.