Journal Article

Seasonal Analyses of Air Pollution and Mortality in 100 US Cities

Roger D. Peng, Francesca Dominici, Roberto Pastor-Barriuso, Scott L. Zeger and Jonathan M. Samet

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 161, issue 6, pages 585-594
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Seasonal Analyses of Air Pollution and Mortality in 100 US Cities

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Time series models relating short-term changes in air pollution levels to daily mortality counts typically assume that the effects of air pollution on the log relative rate of mortality do not vary with time. However, these short-term effects might plausibly vary by season. Changes in the sources of air pollution and meteorology can result in changes in characteristics of the air pollution mixture across seasons. The authors developed Bayesian semiparametric hierarchical models for estimating time-varying effects of pollution on mortality in multisite time series studies. The methods were applied to the database of the National Morbidity and Mortality Air Pollution Study, which includes data for 100 US cities, for the period 1987–2000. At the national level, a 10-μg/m3 increase in particulate matter less than 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter at a 1-day lag was associated with 0.15% (95% posterior interval (PI): −0.08, 0.39), 0.14% (95% PI: −0.14, 0.42), 0.36% (95% PI: 0.11, 0.61), and 0.14% (95% PI: −0.06, 0.34) increases in mortality for winter, spring, summer, and fall, respectively. An analysis by geographic region found a strong seasonal pattern in the Northeast (with a peak in summer) and little seasonal variation in the southern regions of the country. These results provide useful information for understanding particle toxicity and guiding future analyses of particle constituent data.

Keywords: air pollution; epidemiologic methods; models; statistical; mortality; seasons; NMMAPS    National Morbidity, Mortality, and Air Pollution Study; PI    posterior interval; PM2.5    particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter; PM10    particulate matter less than 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter

Journal Article.  5748 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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