Urban grey spaces are associated with increased allergy in the general population

S. Maio (Corresponding Author), S. Baldacci, S. Tagliaferro, A. Angino, Eija Parmes, Juha Pärkkä, G. Pesce, C. N. Maesano, I. Annesi-Maesano, G. Viegi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: the built environment in urban areas may have side effects on children's respiratory health, whilst less is known for adulthood.

    Aim: to assess the association between increasing exposure to grey spaces and allergic status in an adult general population sample.

    Methods: 2070 subjects (age range 15–84 yrs), living in Pisa/Cascina, Italy, were investigated in 1991–93 through a questionnaire on health status and risk factors, skin prick test (SPT), serum Immunoglobulins E (IgE), and serum antibodies to benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE)-DNA adducts. Land-cover exposure within a 1000 m buffer from each subject's home address was assessed through the CORINE Land Cover program (CLC 1990) within the FP7/HEALS project (2013–2018). Participants' residential addresses were geocoded and the proportion of surrounding grey spaces was calculated. Through logistic regression models, adjusting for potential confounding factors, the effect of a 10% increase in grey spaces exposure on allergic biomarkers/conditions was assessed; the relationship with serum antibodies to BPDE-DNA adducts positivity was also analyzed.

    Results: A 10% increase in grey spaces coverage was associated with a higher probability of having SPT positivity (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.02-1.13), seasonal SPT positivity (OR 1.12, 1.05-1.19), polysensitization (OR 1.11, 1.04-1.19), allergic rhinitis (OR 1.10, 1.04-1.17), co-presence of SPT positivity and asthma/allergic rhinitis (OR 1.16, 1.08-1.25), asthma/allergic rhinitis (OR 1.06, 1.00-1.12), presence of serum antibodies to BPDE-DNA adducts positivity (OR 1.07, 1.01-1.14).

    Conclusions: grey spaces have adverse effects on allergic status and are related to a biomarker of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposure in adulthood. Thus, they may be used as a proxy of urban environmental exposure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number112428
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Research
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Adulthood
    • Allergic symptoms/diseases
    • Biomarkers
    • Built environment
    • CORINE land Cover


    Dive into the research topics of 'Urban grey spaces are associated with increased allergy in the general population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this