Respiratory Problems Associated with Exposure to Airborne Particles in the Community

Ayana Goren, Sarah Hellmann, Yaakov Gabbay, Shmuel Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the spring of 1995, schoolchildren aged 7–13 y who lived in a rural area in Israel were studied. These children lived in two communities: in one community, the population was exposed to pollution from a cement factory and quarries; the population of the second community was not exposed to pollution from these sources. The children from participating schools performed forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, peak expiratory flow, forced expiratory flow at 50%, and forced expiratory flow at 25%. Parents completed an American Thoracic Society-National Heart and Lung Institute health questionnaire, which included information about respiratory symptoms and diseases of the children and information about background variables. A trend of higher prevalence of most respiratory symptoms occurred in 638 children who were growing up in the community that bordered the industrial zone, compared with 338 children from the unexposed community. Cough without cold, sputum without cold, and cough accompanied by sputum were the most prevalent symptoms. Asthma diagnosed by a physician was reported more frequently for children who lived near the polluting sources. No consistent trend of reduced pulmonary function tests was observed among children who lived in the polluted community; however, peak expiratory flow was significantly lower among these children. Odds ratio values, calculated from logistic regressions in which we controlled for respiratory problems among parents, mothers who smoked, crowding index, education of mothers, and residential heating, were 3.6 (p value for model =.244) for cough without cold, 4.0 (p value for model =.333) for asthma, and 2.2 (p value for model =.753) for asthma and/or bronchitis in the polluted area, compared with 1.0 in the low-pollution community. Total suspended particulate matter and levels of airborne particles less than 10 microns, measured in the community bordering the industrial zone, very often violated the relevant 24-h Israeli standards of 200 μg/m3 and 150 μg/m3, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Environmental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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