Indoor environmental differences between inner city and suburban homes of children with asthma

Elinor Simons, Jean Curtin-Brosnan, Timothy Buckley, Patrick Breysse, Peyton A Eggleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


We conducted this study to compare environmental exposures in suburban homes of children with asthma to exposures in inner city homes of children with asthma, to better understand important differences of indoor pollutant exposure that might contribute to increased asthma morbidity in the inner city. Indoor PM10, PM2.5, NO2, O3, and airborne and dust allergen levels were measured in the homes of 120 children with asthma, 100 living in inner city Baltimore and 20 living in the surrounding counties. Home conditions and health outcome measures were also compared. The inner city and suburban homes differed in ways that might affect airborne environmental exposures. The inner city homes had more cigarette smoking (67% vs. 5%, p<.001), signs of disrepair (77% vs. 5%, p<.001), and cockroach (64% vs. 0%, p<.001) and mouse (80% vs. 5%, p<.001) infestation. The inner city homes had higher geometric mean (GM) levels (p<.001) of PM10 (47 vs. 18 μg/m3), PM2.5 (34 vs. 8.7 μg/m3), NO2 [19 ppb vs. below detection (BD)], and O3 (1.9 vs. .015 ppb) than suburban homes. The inner city homes had lower GM bedroom dust allergen levels of dust mite (.29 vs. 1.2 μg/g, p=.022), dog (.38 vs. 5.5 μg/g, p<.001) and cat (.75 vs. 2.4 μg/g, p=.039), but higher levels of mouse (3.2 vs. .013 μg/g, p<.001) and cockroach (4.5 vs. .42 U/g, p<.001). The inner city homes also had higher GM airborne mouse allergen levels (.055 vs. .016 ng/m3, p=.002). Compared with the homes of suburban children with asthma, the homes of inner city Baltimore children with asthma had higher levels of airborne pollutants and home characteristics that predispose to greater asthma morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-590
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Air pollution
  • Allergens
  • Indoor air
  • Inner city asthma
  • Particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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