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Title: The impact of school environment on children's respiratory health
Authors: Fsadni, Peter
Bezzina, Frank
Fsadni, Claudia
Aquilina, Noel
Montefort, Stephen
Keywords: Asthma in children
Allergy in children
Pediatric respiratory diseases
Indoor air pollution
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: S. Karger AG
Citation: Fsadni P., Bezzina F., Fsadni C., Aquilina N., & Montefort S. (2015). The impact of school environment on children's respiratory health. Integrative Medicine International, 2(1), 129-138.
Abstract: School indoor air quality is important because children spend most of their time outside home within the school environment. This study aimed to investigate the school environment and its impact on the respiratory health of the children. Methods: A total of 191 pupils in the 9- to 11-year age group were selected from 5 primary state schools. Validated school and health questionnaires, spirometry, acoustic rhinometry, nasal lavage, urine for environmental tobacco smoke biomarkers and traffic counts were used. Results: Cumulative (32.98%) and current wheezing (17.8%) were in keeping with the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Malta data. Southern schools had the highest prevalence of current wheezers (OR 3.77; p = 0.012), rhinoconjunctivitis (OR 3.59; p = 0.003) and nasal eosinophilic cationic protein levels (p < 0.001). Small openable window areas increased rhinitic symptoms (OR 3.14; p = 0.016). Classes facing roads had increased current wheezers (OR 2.27; p = 0.03) and exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) levels (p < 0.001). Current wheezing was significantly associated with the number of light and heavy vehicles passing near the school (p < 0.001). The presence of smokers at home was significantly associated with urinary cotinine and 3HC (p < 0.001). Proximity to power plants increased the current wheezers (OR 5.89; p = 0.001) who had impaired spirometry (p = 0.003). Asthma symptoms (OR 5.25; p = 0.001) and elevated eCO levels (p < 0.001) were associated with fuel storage facilities near schools. The accumulation of dust on flat surfaces within classrooms was related to wheezing (OR 5.23; p = 0.001). Conclusions: The school environment had a direct impact on the respiratory health of children, with several factors having a direct impact on the children’s health.
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