Science of The Total Environment

Lu, Yi, Shao Lin*, Wayne R. Lawrence, Ziqiang Lin, Eugen Gurzau, Eva Csobod, and Iulia A. Neamtiu.

Abstract
BACKGROUND:
Exposure to indoor air pollutants at home was found to be associated with respiratory diseases. As lifestyle changes with rapid economic growth in Romania, the aim of our study is to describe the characteristics of Romanian homes and their impact on children’s respiratory health.
METHODS:
Self-reported information on respiratory symptoms was collected from 280 Romanian elementary school students in 2011, and the symptoms were categorized into allergy, asthma-like, and flu-like symptoms. Home characteristics and demographic information were collected from questionnaires answered by parents. The association between home characteristics and respiratory health was assessed through multivariate logistic regression controlling for school indoor exposure.
RESULTS:
As compared to U.S. households, Romanian homes have a higher percentage of smokers, limited use of indoor climate control, and higher use of iron stoves. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was associated with both asthma and allergy symptoms. Additional risk factors identified for allergy symptoms include living in apartments, near pesticide sprayed areas, and the use of incense sticks. The significantly higher risk of flu-like symptoms was associated with mold and dampness issues, the use of air conditioner, gas heater/iron stove in children’s bedroom.
CONCLUSION:
Our findings suggest that an increase in respiratory symptoms among Romanian school-age children can be partly related to their environmental exposure at home. Since most of the identified risk factors are preventable, our results provide critical information and evidence for policymakers, to develop target intervention and education strategies.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff