Atopic Diseases Among Schoolchildren in Nikel, Russia, an Arctic Area with Heavy Air Pollution
The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence rate of atopic diseases among schoolchildren living in the heavily polluted Arctic town of Nikel, Russia. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to the parents of 1,800 children aged 8-17 years, 1,684 of whom (93.6%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Atopic diseases were reported in 508 (30.2%) of the children and prevalence was similar for both sexes. Atopic dermatitis occurred most frequently (15.5%), followed by allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (13.9%) and asthma (3.9%). The most pronounced influence on atopic diseases in children was having parents with asthma. Indoor dampness was a significant risk factor eliciting atopic diseases, whereas furred pets, passive smoking and carpets did not influence the prevalence of allergy. We conclude that although atopic diseases are a common health problem in Nikel, they are less prevalent than has been reported in recent studies of Northern European countries. Air pollution does not seem to be a major risk factor for the development of atopic diseases.