Atopic diseases among adults in the two geographically related arctic areas Nikel, Russia and Sør-Varanger, Norway: possible effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution.J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2000; 14(2):107-11JE
Previous studies have shown lower prevalence of atopic diseases among adults and school-children in Eastern Europe.
To compare the prevalence of atopic diseases among adults in two geographically related arctic areas, Nikel, Russia and Sør-Varanger, Norway. Nikel is a heavily polluted town on the Kola Peninsula.
The prevalence of eczema, asthma and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (AR) was assessed using two identical questionnaire studies. The study in Sør-Varanger was conducted in the autumn of 1991 and comprised 1102 adults. In the spring of 1994, 3368 adults in Nikel completed the 4-page questionnaire. Results The lifetime prevalence of atopic diseases was significantly higher in Sør-Varanger than in Nikel (25.2% vs. 11.2%; P < 0.001), most pronounced for eczema (15.9% vs. 5.9%; P < 0.001) and AR (10.3% vs. 5.6%; P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of asthma between the two areas (5.6% vs. 4.9%; RR 1.1). Indoor dampness, carpeted floors and outdoor pollution were found to be significantly higher in Nikel than in Sør-Varanger (P < 0.0001). Smoking habits were different in the two areas.
Atopic diseases in Sør-Varanger were more than twice that found in Nikel. Western lifestyle and new building techniques resulting in poorly ventilated homes may be the main reasons for these differences. Other factors, such as differences in seeking medical help for physical complaints and in the social and political environment, are also suggested.