Pediatric asthma attack and home paint exposure

Nadia T. Saif, Julia M. Janecki, Adam Wanner, Andrew A. Colin, Naresh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although asthma mortality has been declining for the past several decades, asthma mor-bidity is on the rise, largely due to deteriorating indoor air quality and comorbidities, such as aller-gies. Consumer products and building materials including paints emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as propylene glycol (PG), which is shown to dehydrate respiratory tracts and can con-tributor to airway remodeling. We hypothesize that paint exposure increases the risk of asthma attacks among children because high levels of VOCs persist indoors for many weeks after painting. Children 1–15 years old visiting two of the University of Miami general pediatric clinics were screened for their history of asthma and paint exposure by interviewing their parents and/or guard-ians accompanying them to the clinic. They were also asked questions about asthma diagnosis, severity of asthma and allergies and their sociodemographics. The risk of asthma attack among asthmatic children was modeled with respect to paint exposure adjusting for potential confounders using multivariate logistic regressions. Of 163 children, 36 (22%) reported physician-diagnosed asthma and of these, 13 (33%) had an asthma attack during the last one year. Paint exposure was marginally significant in the univariate analysis (OR = 4.04; 95% CI = 0.90–18.87; p < 0.1). However, exposed asthmatic children were 10 times more likely to experience an asthma attack than unex-posed asthmatic children (OR = 10.49; CI = 1.16–94.85, p < 0.05) when adjusted for other risk factors. Given paint is one of the sources of indoor VOCs, multiple strategies are warranted to manage the health effects of VOC exposure from paint, including the use of zero-VOC water-based paint, exposure avoidance and clinical interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4118
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2 2021


  • Allergies
  • Home environment
  • Paint exposure
  • Pediatric asthma
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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