Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Blood pressure and particulate air pollution in schoolchildren of Lahore, Pakistan

Muhammad Sughis134, Tim S Nawrot2, Syed Ihsan-ul-Haque34, Asad Amjad34 and Benoit Nemery1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

2 Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium

3 Centre of Research for Public Health, Lahore, Pakistan

4 Lahore College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:378  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-378

Published: 25 May 2012



Air pollution is a growing health problem for urban populations in emerging economies. The present study examines the (cross-sectional) relation between blood pressure and particulate air pollution in schoolchildren of Lahore (Pakistan).


We recruited a sample of 8–12 year-old children (mean age 9.9 years; 45% girls) from two schools in Lahore situated in areas with low (n = 79) and high (n = 100) air pollution, respectively. During the study period (January-April 2009) particulate pollution [PM10 and PM2.5i.e. particles with aerodynamic diameters below 10 μm or 2.5 μm, respectively] was measured at the school sites with a laser operated device (Metone Aerocet 531). Blood pressure was measured, after 5 minutes of sitting rest, using an automated device (average of 5 consecutive measurements). Spot urine samples were also collected and concentrations of Na and K were measured.


Mean daily values of PM2.5 were 28.5 μg/m3 (SD: 10.3) and 183 μg/m3 (SD: 30.2), in the low and high pollution areas, respectively. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly higher in children living in the high pollution area (115.9/70.9 mm Hg) than in the low pollution area (108.3/66.4 mm Hg), independently of age, gender, height, weight, socio-economic status, passive smoking and the urinary concentrations of Na, K, and creatinine.


In 8–12 year-old children, exposure to (traffic-related) air pollution was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These findings, if they persist, might have clinical relevance at older age.