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BACKGROUND: This study aimed to assess associations of outdoor air pollution on prevalence of chronic bronchitis symptoms in adults in five cohort studies (Asthma-E3N, ECRHS, NSHD, SALIA, SAPALDIA) participating in the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) project. METHODS: Annual average particulate matter (PM(10), PM(2.5), PM(absorbance), PM(coarse)), NO(2), nitrogen oxides (NO(x)) and road traffic measures modelled from ESCAPE measurement campaigns 2008-2011 were assigned to home address at most recent assessments (1998-2011). Symptoms examined were chronic bronchitis (cough and phlegm for ≥3 months of the year for ≥2 years), chronic cough (with/without phlegm) and chronic phlegm (with/without cough). Cohort-specific cross-sectional multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted using common confounder sets (age, sex, smoking, interview season, education), followed by meta-analysis. RESULTS: 15 279 and 10 537 participants respectively were included in the main NO(2) and PM analyses at assessments in 1998-2011. Overall, there were no statistically significant associations with any air pollutant or traffic exposure. Sensitivity analyses including in asthmatics only, females only or using back-extrapolated NO(2) and PM10 for assessments in 1985-2002 (ECRHS, NSHD, SALIA, SAPALDIA) did not alter conclusions. In never-smokers, all associations were positive, but reached statistical significance only for chronic phlegm with PM(coarse) OR 1.31 (1.05 to 1.64) per 5 µg/m(3) increase and PM(10) with similar effect size. Sensitivity analyses of older cohorts showed increased risk of chronic cough with PM(2.5abs) (black carbon) exposures. CONCLUSIONS: Results do not show consistent associations between chronic bronchitis symptoms and current traffic-related air pollution in adult European populations.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204352

Type

Journal article

Journal

Thorax

Publication Date

11/2014

Volume

69

Pages

1005 - 1014

Keywords

Air Pollution, Bronchitis, Chronic, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Environmental Monitoring, Global Health, Humans, Incidence, Risk Factors