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    • East Germany
    • Airway Diseases And...
    • Key People For East Germany

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      Joachim Heinrich
      air pollution lung function allergic sensitization
      Heinz‐Erich Wichmann
      lung cancer air pollution east germany
      Erika RM von Mutius
      atopic dermatitis childhood asthma allergic diseases
      Christian Fritzsch
      east germany il4 gene allergic sensitization
      Stephan Karl Weiland
      international study allergic rhinitis atopic eczema
      Jennifer Hunt
      aboriginal health united states east germany

      Airway diseases and allergies in East and West German children during the first 5 years after reunification: time trends and the impact of sulphur dioxide and total suspended particles.


      BACKGROUND: East-West comparison studies in Europe find higher prevalences of infectious airway diseases and lower prevalences of allergies in eastern areas. Pollution from sulphur dioxide (SO2) or total suspended particles (TSP) are discussed as causes of this difference.

      METHODS: In four differently polluted areas of East Germany where pollution decreased dramatically between 1989 and 1995 cross-sectional studies in about 7-year-old children were repeated every year between 1991 and 1995. In two differently polluted areas of West Germany studies with the same design were done in 1991 and 1994. In all, 19090 children participated in the study. Thirteen different questions about airway diseases and allergies were evaluated. Logistic regression was used to adjust for confounding.

      RESULTS: With the exception of pneumonia, all infectious airway diseases and irritations of the airways show a steeper temporal decrease in East than in West Germany or are positively associated with either SO2 or TSP in East Germany. For allergies and related symptoms no differences in time trends could be detected or no association with SO2 or TSP could be seen in East Germany.

      CONCLUSION: Most airway diseases were more frequent in East than in West Germany in 1991 and were associated with SO2 or TSP. The decrease in these pollutants between 1991 and 1995 has already had a favourable effect. An effect of SO2 or TSP pollution on allergies and related symptoms could not be detected. This pollution does not protect against the development of allergies.

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