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The authors declare they have no competing interests.
AL drafted the manuscript, conducted the statistical analyses, and did the main design of the study and interpretation of results. ES conducted exposure modeling, and participated in the design of the study and interpretation of results. KJ participated in the design of the study and in interpretation of results. All authors made revisions on drafts, and read and approved of the final manuscript.
Epidemiologic studies have shown conflicting results regarding the role of traffic pollution in the development of allergic disease. This study investigated the relationship between living close to traffic and ever dispense of prescribed oral antihistamines or nasal anti-allergic medication, among young children. The underlying aim was to investigate if children growing up close to traffic pollution are at higher risk of developing allergy in early childhood.
We investigated a birth cohort in southern Sweden, consisting of N = 26 128 children (0–6 years) with health outcome and exposure data. Of these children, N = 7898, had additional covariate information. Traffic intensity and yearly averages of dispersion-modeled concentrations of NOX (100 × 100 m grid) at residential addresses, were linked with registry data on dispensed allergy medication (the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register). Individual level covariate information was obtained from questionnaires distributed to parents at Child Health Care-center visits, eight months after birth. Cox proportional hazards regression was used for the statistical analyses.
Living in close proximity to a road with equal to or greater than 8640 cars/day (compared to 0–8639 cars/day), was not associated with higher incidence of ever dispensed oral antihistamine or nasal anti-allergic medication, with or without adjustment for confounders (sex, breastfeeding, parental allergy, parental origin, season, and year of birth). Similar results were found in relation to NOX.
Traffic-related exposure was not associated with higher incidence of ever dispensed medication against allergy, in children 0–6 years in southern Sweden. These results indicates that traffic-related exposure may not be a risk factor for early onset allergy in children in southern Sweden. However, children with dispense of prescribed allergy medication may be a selected subgroup, and the results for this group may not be generalizable to all children with allergy.