Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica     
Simoni M., Scognamiglio A., Carrozzi L., Baldacci S., Angino A., Pistelli F., Di Pede F., Viegi G. Indoor exposures and acute respiratory effects in two general population samples from a rural and an urban area in Italy. In: Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology, vol. 14 (1) pp. 144 - 152. Nature Publishing Group, 2004.
A study of indoor air exposures and acute respiratory effects in adults was conducted in the Po Delta (rural) and Pisa (urban) areas of Italy. Indoor exposures were monitored for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (<2.5 m) for one week during the winter or summer in a total of 421 houses (2/3 in Pisa). Information on house characteristics, subjects' daily activity pattern and presence of acute respiratory symptoms were collected by standardized questionnaire. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) manoeuvres were performed by adult subjects four times daily; maximum amplitude and diurnal variation were taken into account. Indices of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM2.5) exposures were computed as the product of weekly mean pollutant concentration by the time of daily exposure. Mean levels of pollutants were significantly higher in winter than in summer, regardless of the area. The relationship between exposure indices and acute respiratory symptoms was investigated only in winter. In spite of slightly lower indoor level in the urban than in the rural area in winter (nitrogen dioxide: 15 vs 22 ppb; PM2.5: 67 vs 76 g/m3), prevalence rates of acute respiratory symptoms were significantly higher in the urban than in the rural area. Acute respiratory illnesses with fever were significantly associated with indices of nitrogen dioxide (O.R.=1.66; 95%CI=1.08-2.57) and PM2.5 exposures (O.R.=1.62; 1.04-2.51), while bronchitic/asthmatic symptoms were associated only with PM2.5 (O.R.=1.39; 1.17-1.66). PEF variability was positively related only to PM2.5 exposure index (O.R.=1.38; 1.24-1.54, for maximum amplitude; O.R.=1.37; 1.23-1.53, for diurnal variation). In conclusion, indoor pollution exposures were associated with the presence of acute respiratory symptoms and mild lung function impairment in a rural and in an urban areas of Northern-Central Italy.
Subject indoor pollution
nitrogen dioxide
acute respiratory effects

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