To explore various contributors to people's reporting of self reported air pollution problems in area of living, including GIS-modeled air pollution, and to investigate whether those with respiratory or other chronic diseases tend to over-report air pollution problems, compared to healthy people.
Cross-sectional data from the Oslo Health Study (2000–2001) were linked with GIS-modeled air pollution data from the Norwegian Institute of Air Research. Multivariate regression analyses were performed. 14 294 persons aged 30, 40, 45, 60 or 75 years old with complete information on modeled and self reported air pollution were included.
People who reported air pollution problems were exposed to significantly higher GIS-modeled air pollution levels than those who did not report such problems. People with chronic disease, reported significantly more air pollution problems after adjustment for modeled levels of nitrogen dioxides, socio-demographic variables, smoking, depression, dwelling conditions and an area deprivation index, even if they had a non-respiratory disease. No diseases, however, were significantly associated with levels of nitrogen dioxides.
Self reported air pollution problems in area of living are strongly associated with increased levels of GIS-modeled air pollution. Over and above this, those who report to have a chronic disease tend to report more air pollution problems in area of living, despite no significant difference in air pollution exposure compared to healthy people, and no associations between these diseases and NO2. Studies on the association between self reported air pollution problems and health should be aware of the possibility that disease itself may influence the reporting of air pollution.