- BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to assess the correlation between childhood asthma and potential risk factors, especially exposure to indoor allergens, in a Native American population. METHODS: A case-control study of St. Regis Mohawk tribe children ages 2-14 years, 25 diagnosed with asthma and 25 controls was conducted. Exposure was assessed based on a personal interview and measurement of mite and cat allergens (Der p 1, Fel d 1) in indoor dust. RESULTS: A non-significant increased risk of childhood asthma was associated with self-reported family history of asthma, childhood environmental tobacco smoke exposure, and air pollution. There was a significant protective effect of breastfeeding against current asthma in children less than 14 years (5.2 fold lower risk). About 80% of dust mite and 15% of cat allergen samples were above the threshold values for sensitization of 2 and 1 mug/g, respectively. The association between current asthma and exposure to dust mite and cat allergens was positive but not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: This research identified several potential indoor and outdoor risk factors for asthma in Mohawks homes, of which avoidance may reduce or delay the development of asthma in susceptible individuals.