Housing characteristics and indoor air quality in households of Alaska Native children with chronic lung conditions
Alaska Native children experience high rates of respiratory infections and conditions. Household crowding, indoor smoke, lack of piped water, and poverty have been associated with respiratory infections.
We describe the baseline household characteristics of children with severe or chronic lung disease participating in a 2012–2015 indoor air study. We monitored indoor PM2.5, CO2, relative humidity %, temperature, and VOCs and interviewed caregivers about children's respiratory symptoms. We evaluated the association between reported children's respiratory symptoms and indoor air quality indicators using multiple logistic regression analysis. Compared with general US households, study households were more likely overcrowded 73% (62%–82%) vs 3.2% (3.1%–3.3%); had higher woodstove use as primary heat source 16% (9%–25%) vs 2.1% (2.0%–2.2%); and higher proportion of children in a household with a smoker 49% (38%–60%) vs 26.2% (25.5%–26.8%). Median PM2.5 was 33 μg/m3. Median CO2 was 1401 ppm. VOCs were detectable in all homes. VOCs, smoker, primary wood heat, and PM2.5>25 μg/m3 were associated with higher risk for cough between colds; VOCs were associated with higher risk for wheeze between colds and asthma diagnosis. High indoor air pollutant levels were associated with respiratory symptoms in household children, likely related to overcrowding, poor ventilation, woodstove use, and tobacco smoke.