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1.  Temporal relationship between air pollutants and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Hong Kong 
Thorax  2007;62(9):780-785.
To assess any relationship between the levels of ambient air pollutants and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Hong Kong.
A retrospective ecological study was undertaken. Data of daily emergency hospital admissions to 15 major hospitals in Hong Kong for COPD and indices of air pollutants (sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulates with an aerodynamic diameter of <10 μm (PM10) and 2.5 μm (PM2.5)) and meteorological variables from January 2000 to December 2004 were obtained from several government departments. Analysis was performed using generalised additive models with Poisson distribution, adjusted for the effects of time trend, season, other cyclical factors, temperature and humidity. Autocorrelation and overdispersion were corrected.
Significant associations were found between hospital admissions for COPD with all five air pollutants. Relative risks for admission for every 10 μg/m3 increase in SO2, NO2, O3, PM10 and PM2.5 were 1.007, 1.026, 1.034, 1.024 and 1.031, respectively, at a lag day ranging from lag 0 to cumulative lag 0–5. In a multipollutant model, O3, SO2 and PM2.5 were significantly associated with increased admissions for COPD. SO2, NO2 and O3 had a greater effect on COPD admissions in the cold season (December to March) than during the warm season.
Ambient concentrations of air pollutants have an adverse effect on hospital admissions for COPD in Hong Kong, especially during the winter season. This might be due to indoor exposure to outdoor pollution through open windows as central heating is not required in the mild winter. Measures to improve air quality are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC2117326  PMID: 17311838
2.  Self-Reported Truck Traffic on the Street of Residence and Symptoms of Asthma and Allergic Disease: A Global Relationship in ISAAC Phase 3 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(11):1791-1798.
Associations between traffic pollution on the street of residence and a range of respiratory and allergic outcomes in children have been reported in developed countries, but little is known about such associations in developing countries.
The third phase of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) was carried out in 13- to 14-year-old and 6- to 7-year-old children across the world. A question about frequency of truck traffic on the street of residence was included in an additional questionnaire. We investigated the association between self-reported truck traffic on the street of residence and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema with logistic regression. Adjustments were made for sex, region of the world, language, gross national income, and 10 other subject-specific covariates.
Frequency of truck traffic on the street of residence was positively associated with the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema with an exposure–response relationship. Odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for “current wheeze” and “almost the whole day” versus “never” truck traffic were 1.35 (1.23–1.49) for 13- to 14-year-olds and 1.35 (1.22–1.48) for 6- to 7-year-olds.
Higher exposure to self-reported truck traffic on the street of residence is associated with increased reports of symptoms of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema in many locations in the world. These findings require further investigation in view of increasing exposure of the world’s children to traffic.
PMCID: PMC2801184  PMID: 20049134
air pollution; asthma; eczema; rhinitis; truck traffic
3.  Prevalence of asthma among Chinese adolescents living in Canada and in China 
Studies of the prevalence of asthma among migrating populations may help in identifying environmental risk factors.
We analyzed data from Vancouver, Canada, and from Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong, China, collected during phase 3 of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. We subdivided the Vancouver adolescents according to whether they were Chinese immigrants to Canada, Canadian-born Chinese or Canadian-born non-Chinese. We compared the prevalence of asthma and wheezing among Chinese adolescents born in Canada, Chinese adolescents who had immigrated to Canada and Chinese adolescents living in China.
Of 7794 Chinese adolescents who met the inclusion criteria, 3058 were from Guangzhou, 2824 were from Beijing, and 1912 were from Hong Kong. Of 2235 adolescents in Vancouver, Canada, 475 were Chinese immigrants, 617 were Canadian-born Chinese, and 1143 were Canadian-born non-Chinese. The prevalence of current wheezing among boys ranged from 5.9% in Guangzhou to 11.2% in Canadian-born Chinese adolescents. For girls, the range was 4.3% in Guangzhou to 9.8% in Canadian-born Chinese adolescents. The prevalence of ever having had asthma ranged from 6.6% to 16.6% for boys and from 2.9% to 15.0% for girls. Prevalence gradients persisted after adjustment for other environmental variables (odds ratios for ever having had asthma among Canadian-born Chinese compared with native Chinese in Guangzhou: 2.72 [95% confidence interval 1.75–4.23] for boys and 5.50 [95% confidence interval 3.21–9.44] for girls; p < 0.001 for both). Among Chinese adolescents living in Vancouver, the prevalence of ever wheezing increased with duration of residence, from 14.5% among those living in Canada for less than 7 years to 20.9% among those living their entire life in Canada. The same pattern was observed for the prevalence of ever having had asthma, from 7.7% to 15.9%.
Asthma symptoms in Chinese adolescents were lowest among residents of mainland China, were greater for those in Hong Kong and those who had immigrated to Canada, and were highest among those born in Canada. These findings suggest that environmental factors and duration of exposure influence asthma prevalence.
PMCID: PMC2582762  PMID: 19015564
4.  Factors associated with difference in prevalence of asthma in children from three cities in China: multicentre epidemiological survey  
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;329(7464):486.
Objective To determine the factors associated with difference in prevalence of asthma in children in different regions of China.
Design Multicentre epidemiological survey.
Setting Three cities in China.
Participants 10 902 schoolchildren aged 10 years.
Main outcome measures Asthma and atopic symptoms, atopic sensitisation, and early and current exposure to environmental factors.
Results Children from Hong Kong had a significantly higher prevalence of wheeze in the past year than those from Guangzhou and Beijing (odds ratio 1.64, 95% confidence interval 1.35 to 1.99). Factors during the first year of life and currently that were significantly associated with wheeze were cooking with gas (odds ratio 2.04, 1.34 to 3.13), foam pillows (2.58, 1.66 to 3.99), and damp housing (1.89, 1.26 to 2.83). Factors protecting against wheeze were cotton quilts and the consumption of fruit and raw vegetables.
Conclusion Environmental factors and diet may explain the differences in prevalence of asthma between children living in different regions of China.
PMCID: PMC515199  PMID: 15331473

Results 1-4 (4)