Australian Children’s Air Pollution Study (ACHAPS)

Current CAR investigators involved: CIs Williams, Marks and Jalaludin.

This study is the only national Australian study examining air pollution effects on child health. It involves a cross-sectional study to examine the effects of cumulative exposure to air pollutants on children’s respiratory health and a nested panel study to assess short-term effects. Thirty air quality monitoring stations across six major Australian cities were selected in a manner that maximised the observed variability in air pollutants, specifically particulates (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Around 3,000 children aged 8 to 11 years were randomly selected from 60 schools located within a 2.5km radius of the 30 air quality monitoring stations. Data on symptoms, respiratory illnesses, lung function, and airway inflammation were collected. Monitoring station sites and child residences have been geo-coded. The panel study selected a sub-group of children with a history of asthma who recorded daily measures of symptoms and lung function for a 4 week period. Multivariate multi-level (random effects) models were used for analyses.

This study provides a rare opportunity to understand, more completely than ever before, the relation between exposure to air pollutants and child health. The large nationwide sample, rich and detailed data on clinical endpoints and potential for expansion using geocoded residential data in nested studies all place us in strong position to make substantial contributions to knowledge.