The APHEA 2 project investigated short-term health effects of particles in eight European cities. In each city associations between particles with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 microm (PM(10)) and black smoke and daily counts of emergency hospital admissions for asthma (0-14 and 15-64 yr), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and all-respiratory disease (65+ yr) controlling for environmental factors and temporal patterns were investigated. Summary PM(10) effect estimates (percentage change in mean number of daily admissions per 10 microg/m(3) increase) were asthma (0-14 yr) 1.2% (95% CI: 0.2, 2.3), asthma (15-64 yr) 1.1% (0.3, 1.8), and COPD plus asthma and all-respiratory (65+ yr) 1.0% (0.4, 1.5) and 0.9% (0.6, 1.3). The combined estimates for Black Smoke tended to be smaller and less precisely estimated than for PM(10). Variability in the sizes of the PM(10) effect estimates between cities was also investigated. In the 65+ groups PM(10) estimates were positively associated with annual mean concentrations of ozone in the cities. For asthma admissions (0-14 yr) a number of city-specific factors, including smoking prevalence, explained some of their variability. This study confirms that particle concentrations in European cities are positively associated with increased numbers of admissions for respiratory diseases and that some of the variation in PM(10) effect estimates between cities can be explained by city characteristics.
Time series of daily administrative cardio-respiratory health and environmental information have been extensively used to assess the potential public health impact of ambient air pollution. Both series are subject to strong but unrelated temporal cycles. These cycles must be removed from the time series prior to examining the role air pollution plays in exacerbating cardio-respiratory disease. In this paper, we examine a number of methods of temporal filtering that have been proposed to eliminate such temporal effects. The techniques are illustrated by linking the number of daily admissions to hospital for respiratory diseases in Toronto, Canada for the 11 year period 1981 to 1991 with daily concentrations of ambient ozone. The ozone-hospitalization relationship was found to be highly sensitive to the length of temporal cycle removed from the admission time series, and to day of the week effects, ranging from a relative risk of 0.874 if long wave cycles were not removed at all to 1.020 for models which removed at least cycles greater than or equal to one month based on the interquartile pollutant range. The specific statistical method of adjustment was not a critical factor. The association was not as sensitive to removal of cycles less than one month, except that negative autocorrelation increased for series in which cycles of one week or less were removed. We recommend three criteria in selecting the degree of smoothing in the outcome: removal of temporal cycles, minimizing autocorrelation and optimizing goodness of fit. The association between ambient ozone levels and hospital admissions for respiratory diseases was also sensitive to the season of examination, with weaker associations observed outside the summer months.
This study investigated whether chronic airflow limitation and rapid decline in pulmonary function were associated with peak exposures to ozone and other irritant gases in pulp mills. Bleachery workers potentially exposed to irritant gassings (n = 178) from three Swedish pulp mills, and a comparison group of workers not exposed to irritant gassings (n = 54) from two paper mills, were studied. Baseline surveys occurred in 1995-1996, with follow-up surveys in 1998-1999. Participants performed spirometry and answered questions regarding ozone, chlorine dioxide (ClO2), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) gassings. From regression models controlling for potential confounders, declines in both the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (-24 mL x yr(-1)) and the forced vital capacity (FVC) (-19 mL x yr(-1)) were associated with ClO2/SO2 gassings. At follow-up, the prevalence of chronic airflow limitation (i.e. FEV1/FVC less than the lower limit of normal) was elevated for participants with only pre-baseline ozone gassings and with both pre-baseline and interval ozone gassings, after controlling for potential confounders. These findings suggest that obstructive effects among bleachery workers are associated with ozone gassings, and that adverse effects on spirometry might also accompany chlorine dioxide/sulphur dioxide gassings. Peak exposures to irritant gases in pulp mills should be prevented.
There is some evidence linking air pollution to cardiovascular morbidity. Our aim was to examine whether there is a correlation between air pollution and cardiovascular morbidity in the city of Trondheim, Norway.
We compared the mean daily number of admissions for cardiovascular disease to the St. Olav University hospital on days with relatively low and high levels of PM10 (1993-2001), PM2,5, NO, NO2, SO2, O3, toluene and paraxylene (1998-2001). A time series analysis was carried out to see how day-to-day variations in concentrations of air pollutants correlated with the number of hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease.
In the bivariate analysis, the mean daily number of hospitalizations was found to be significantly higher (p
Air pollution referable to increased ambient levels of sulfur dioxide and suspended particulates is associated with increased episodes of acute bronchitis and is also causally related to some cases of chronic bronchitis. Oxidant air pollution is associated with abnormalities of pulmonary function in children and is a major contributory factor in COP, especially bronchitis, in some areas of the United States. The relationship of nitrogen dioxide atmospheric contamination to COPD is still controversial. In our opinion, the epidemiologic studies conducted to date have been inadequate and further elucidation is indicated. Cadmium fumes and compounds have been found to be instrumental in the development of some cases of chronic bronchitis and emphysema in Sweden. This association is unproved in the United States and warrants a thorough clinical and epidemiologic evaluation.
This report provides the methodology and findings from the project: Air Pollution and Health: a European and North American Approach (APHENA). The principal purpose of the project was to provide an understanding of the degree of consistency among findings of multicity time-series studies on the effects of air pollution on mortality and hospitalization in several North American and European cities. The project included parallel and combined analyses of existing data. The investigators sought to understand how methodological differences might contribute to variation in effect estimates from different studies, to characterize the extent of heterogeneity in effect estimates, and to evaluate determinants of heterogeneity. The APHENA project was based on data collected by three groups of investigators for three earlier studies: (1) Air Pollution and Health: A European Approach (APHEA), which comprised two multicity projects in Europe. (Phase 1 [APHEA1] involving 15 cities, and Phase 2 [APHEA2] involving 32 cities); (2) the National Morbidity, Mortality, and Air Pollution Study (NMMAPS), conducted in the 90 largest U.S. cities; and (3) multicity research on the health effects of air pollution in 12 Canadian cities.
The project involved the initial development of analytic approaches for first-stage and second-stage analyses of the time-series data and the subsequent application of the resulting methods to the time-series data. With regard to the first-stage analysis, the various investigative groups had used conceptually similar approaches to the key issues of controlling for temporal confounding and temperature; however, specific methods differed. Consequently, the investigators needed to establish a standard protocol, but one that would be linked to prior approaches. Based on exploratory analyses and simulation studies, a first-stage analysis protocol was developed that used generalized linear models (GLM) with either penalized splines (PS) or natural splines (NS) to adjust for seasonality, with 3, 8, or 12 degrees of freedom (df) per year and also the number of degrees of freedom chosen by minimizing the partial autocorrelation function (PACF) of the model's residuals. For hospitalization data, the approach for model specification followed that used for mortality, accounting for seasonal patterns, but also, for weekend and vacation effects, and for epidemics of respiratory disease. The data were also analyzed to detect potential thresholds in the concentration-response relationships. The second-stage analysis used pooling approaches and assessed potential effect modification by sociodemographic characteristics and indicators of the pollution mixture across study regions. Specific quality control exercises were also undertaken. Risks were estimated for two pollutants: particulate matter - 10 pm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) and ozone (O3).
The first-stage analysis yielded estimates that were relatively robust to the underlying smoothing approach and to the number of degrees of freedom. The first-stage APHENA results generally replicated the previous independent analyses performed by the three groups of investigators. PM10 effects on mortality risk estimates from the APHEA2 and NMMAPS databases were quite close, while estimates from the Canadian studies were substantially higher. For hospitalization, results were more variable without discernable patterns of variation among the three data sets. PM10 effect-modification patterns, explored only for cities with daily pollution data (i.e., 22 in Europe and 15 in the U.S.), were not entirely consistent across centers. Thus, the levels of pollutants modified the effects differently in Europe than in the United States. Climatic variables were important only in Europe. In both Europe and the United States, a higher proportion of older persons in the study population was associated with increased PM10 risk estimates, as was a higher rate of unemployment - the sole indicator of socioeconomic status uniformly available across the data sets. APHENA study results on the effects of O3 on mortality were less comprehensive than for PM10 because the studies from the three regions varied in whether they analyzed data for the full year or only for the summer months. The effects tended to be larger for summer in Europe and the United States. In the United States they were lower when controlled for PM10. The estimated effect of O3 varied by degrees of freedom and across the three geographic regions. The effects of O3 on mortality were larger in Canada, and there was little consistent indication of effect modification in any location.
APHENA has shown that mortality findings obtained with the new standardized analysis were generally comparable to those obtained in the earlier studies, and that they were relatively robust to the data analysis method used. For PM10, the effect-modification patterns observed were not entirely consistent between Europe and the United States. For O3, there was no indication of strong effect modification in any of the three data sets.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) affects approximately 1 in 1000 live births and is the most common cause of infant death after the perinatal period.
To determine the influence of air pollution on the incidence of SIDS.
Time-series analyses were performed to compare the daily mortality rates for SIDS and the daily air pollution concentrations in each of 12 Canadian cities during the period of 1984-1999. Serial autocorrelation was controlled for by city, and then the city-specific estimates were pooled. Increased daily rates of SIDS were associated with increases, on the previous day, in the levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide but not ozone or fine particles measured every sixth day. Effects persisted despite adjustments for season alone or the combination of daily mean temperature, relative humidity, and changes in barometric pressure for NO2 and SO2 but not carbon monoxide.
Increases in both SO2 and NO2, equivalent to their interquartile ranges, were associated with a 17.72% increase in SIDS incidence.
Ambient SO2 and NO2 may be important risk factors for SIDS.
Atmospheric pollution has been proposed as one of the possible factors responsible for increases in asthma mortality and morbidity.
We sought to examine whether we could demonstrate a relationship between emergency room visits for asthma and alterations in environmental conditions.
Over a 1-year period, the frequency of emergency room visits for asthma in a large urban hospital were documented and compared to outdoor concentrations of SO2, NO2, and ozone in addition to two overall measures of air quality (air pollution index and air quality index).
A total of 854 emergency room visits were noted with the highest number of visits occurring in May and between September and December. Significant variations in the frequency of visits as well as environmental conditions could be seen on a daily basis. Despite comparisons of results on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, no significant relationships could be found between any of the pollution indices and emergency room visits. Staggering visits by 1 and 7 days, however, revealed a relationship between emergency room visits and air pollution index and air quality index. An association between emergency room visits and NO2 and ozone was seen when visits were staggered by 7 but not by 1 day.
We conclude the fluctuations in overall air quality are associated with increased frequency of emergency room visits but only when data are lagged by a predefined period.
Natural areas are important interfaces between air quality, the public, science and regulation. In the United States and Canada, national parks received over 315million visits during 2004. Many natural areas have been experiencing decreased visibility, increased ozone (O(3)) levels and elevated nitrogen deposition. Ozone is the most pervasive air pollutant in North American natural areas. There is an extensive scientific literature on O(3) exposure-tree response in chambered environments and, lately, free-air exposure systems. Yet, less is known about O(3) impacts on natural terrestrial ecosystems. To advance scientifically defensible O(3) risk assessment for natural forest areas, species-level measurement endpoints must be socially, economically and ecologically relevant. Exposure-based indices, based on appropriate final endpoints, present an underused opportunity to meet this need. Exposure-plant indices should have a high degree of statistical significance, have high goodness of fit, be biologically plausible and include confidence intervals to define uncertainty. They must be supported by exposure-response functions and be easy to use within an air quality regulation context. Ozone exposure-response indices developed within an ambient air context have great potential for improving risk assessment in natural forest areas and enhancing scientific literacy.
BACKGROUND: Ambient air pollution has been associated with increases in acute morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of urban air pollution on cardiac hospital readmissions in survivors of myocardial infarction, a potentially susceptible subpopulation. METHODS AND RESULTS: In this European multicenter cohort study, 22,006 survivors of a first myocardial infarction were recruited in Augsburg, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Helsinki, Finland; Rome, Italy; and Stockholm, Sweden, from 1992 to 2000. Hospital readmissions were recorded in 1992 to 2001. Ambient nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and mass of particles