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Antenatal exposure to indoor air pollution and tobacco smoke associated with wheezing in infants.

A study of infants in Paarl, South Africa, suggests that antenatal exposure to indoor air pollution and tobacco smoke are the predominant risk factors for lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and wheezing illnesses in infants. Mother-infant pairs were enrolled over 3 years in a birth cohort study in two centres and followed up during the first year of life. Exposure to internal air pollution (particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and the volatile organic compounds benzene and toluene) was measured antenatally and postnatally. Exposure to tobacco smoke was assessed by reports from mothers and urine continine tests.

Between March 2012 and March 2015, 1 137 mothers with 1 143 live births were enrolled. Exposures associated with LRTI were maternal smoking or particulate matter. Toluene was a novel exposure associated with severe LRTI. Antenatally, wheezing was associated with maternal passive smoke exposure and postnatally, with any household member smoking.

Vanker A, Barnett W, Workman L, et al. Early-life exposure to indoor air pollution or tobacco smoke and lower respiratory tract illness and wheezing in African infants: A longitudinal birth cohort study. Lancet Planet Health 2017;1(8):e328-e336.

B Farham


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Title Annotation:30 days in medicine
Author:Farham, B.
Publication:South African Medical Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Dec 28, 2017
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