Altered pulmonary function in children with asthma associated with highway traffic near residence

Helene G Margolis, Jennifer K. Mann, Frederick W. Lurmann, Kathleen M. Mortimer, John R. Balmes, S. Katharine Hammond, Ira B. Tager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Cross-sectional analyses were conducted to evaluate the effects of exposure to highway traffic on pulmonary function in Fresno, California. Traffic and spirometry data were available for 214 children (enrollment ages six to 11 years). Multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the relations between pulmonary function and traffic parameters. Heavy-duty vehicle count was used as a surrogate measure for diesel-related exposures. Pulmonary function was non-significantly associated with longer distance-to-road and non-significantly associated with higher traffic intensity. Evaluation of effect modification by FEF25-75/FVC (a measure of intrinsic airway size) showed that all pulmonary function measures of flow were significantly inversely related to a traffic metric that incorporates traffic intensity and roadway proximity. The results indicate that residence proximity to highway traffic is associated with lower pulmonary function among children with asthma, and smaller airway size is an important modifier of the effect of traffic exposure on pulmonary function and a marker of increased susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Air pollution
  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Pulmonary function
  • Traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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