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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 16 (2009), Issue 3, Pages e18-e23
Original Article

Effects of the Indoor Environment on the Fraction of Exhaled Nitric Oxide in School-Aged Children

Thomas A Kovesi1 and Robert E Dales2

1Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa, Canada
2Biostatistics and Epidemiology Division, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: The fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) appears to be a good marker for airway inflammation in children with asthma.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of environmental exposures on exhaled nitric oxide in a community sample of children.

METHODS: The relationship among exhaled nitric oxide, underlying disease and home environmental exposures was examined using questionnaire data and measurement of exhaled nitric oxide in a cross-sectional study of 1135 children that included healthy children, and children with allergies and/or asthma who were attending grades 4 through 6 in Windsor, Ontario.

RESULTS: Among healthy children, there was a positive association between FeNO and occupancy (P<0.02). Compared with forced air and hot water radiant heat, electric baseboard heating was associated with a significant increase of FeNO in healthy children (P=0.007) and children with allergies (P=0.043). FeNO was not associated with environmental tobacco smoke exposure or reported surface mold. The presence of pet dog(s), but not cats, was associated with a significantly lower FeNO in healthy children (P<0.001) and in children with reported allergies (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The type of heating system, but not previously reported environmental tobacco smoke or mold exposure appears to affect exhaled nitric oxide in children. Exposure to different types of pets may have disparate effects on airway inflammation.