Association of pollution and climate with atopic eczema in US children

P. Kathuria, J. I. Silverberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: We sought to determine the relationship between childhood eczema, climate, and environmental pollutants. Methods: We analyzed data from the 2007–2008 National Survey of Children's Health including a representative sample of 91,642 children age 0–17 years and the 2006–2007 Environmental Protection Agency measurements of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrate (NO3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), organic carbon (OC), sulfate (SO3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter ≤2.5 μm (PM-2.5) and <10 μm (PM-10), and tropospheric ozone levels, and the National Climate Data Center measurements of relative humidity (%), issued UV index, outdoor air temperature, and precipitation levels. Results: In multivariate survey logistic regression models controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, household income, US birthplace, and history of moving to a new location, eczema was associated with higher mean annual NO2 (p = 0.008), SO2 (p = 0.006), SO3 (p = 0.0002), arsenic (p = 0.0007), nickel (p = 0.0002), lead (p = 0.03), vanadium (p < 0.0001), and zinc (p = 0.003), but lower NO3 (p = 0.002), OC (p = 0.03), PM-2.5 (p = 0.006), cadmium (p < 0.0001), copper (p = 0.004), and potassium (p < 0.0001). In contrast, moderate–severe eczema was associated with higher NO3 (p = 0.03), OC (p = 0.008) and PM-2.5 (p = 0.01), copper (p = 0.04), lead (p = 0.008), and zinc (p = 0.01), but lower CO (p = 0.03). Principal component analysis was used and identified 4 combinations of pollutants and climate factors occurring in the USA, of which 1 was associated with higher prevalence and two were associated with lower prevalences of eczema (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Pollutants in conjunction with climate factors may differentially impact eczema prevalence and severity, some with apparent harmful effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-485
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • air pollutants
  • air temperature
  • atopic dermatitis
  • children
  • climate
  • eczema prevalence
  • eczema severity
  • nitrate
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • ozone
  • particulate matter under 10 μm
  • particulate matter under 2.5 μm
  • pediatric
  • relative humidity
  • small-particle air pollution
  • sulfate
  • sulfur dioxide
  • ultraviolet index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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