Early-life indoor environmental exposures increase the risk of childhood asthma

Yang Ching Chen, Ching Hui Tsai, Yungling Leo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


We aim to explore the relationships between exposure to dampness, pets, and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) early in life and asthma in Taiwanese children, and to discuss their links to early- and late-onset asthma. We conducted a 1:2 matched case-control study from the Taiwan Children Health Study, which was a nationwide study that recruited 12-to-14 year-old school children in 14 communities. The 579 mothers of the participants were interviewed by telephone about their children's environmental exposures before they were 5 years old, including the in-utero period. Childhood asthma was associated with exposure to early life environmental factors, such as cockroaches (OR = 2.16; 95% CI, 1.15-4.07), visible mould (OR = 1.75; 95% CI, 1.15-2.67), mildewy odors (OR = 5.04; 95% CI, 2.42-10.50), carpet (OR = 2.36; 95% CI, 1.38-4.05), pets (OR = 2.11; 95% CI, 1.20-3.72), and more than one hour of ETS per day (OR = 1.93; 95% CI, 1.16-3.23). The ORs for mildewy odors, feather pillows, and ETS during early childhood were greater among children with late-onset asthma. Cockroaches, carpet, pets, and in-utero exposures to ETS affected the timing of early-onset asthma. Exposure to these factors led to dose-responsiveness in the risk of asthma. And the earlier exposures may trigger the earlier onset. Interventions in avoiding these environmental exposures are necessary for early-prevention of childhood asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Cockroach
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Moulds
  • Pet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Early-life indoor environmental exposures increase the risk of childhood asthma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this