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Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Jul 15;146(2):177-85.

Short-term effects of ambient oxidant exposure on mortality: a combined analysis within the APHEA project. Air Pollution and Health: a European Approach.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Athens Medical School, Greece.

Abstract

The Air Pollution and Health: a European Approach (APHEA) project is a coordinated study of the short-term effects of air pollution on mortality and hospital admissions using data from 15 European cities, with a wide range of geographic, sociodemographic, climatic, and air quality patterns. The objective of this paper is to summarize the results of the short-term effects of ambient oxidants on daily deaths from all causes (excluding accidents). Within the APHEA project, six cities spanning Central and Western Europe provided data on daily deaths and NO2 and/or O3 levels. The data were analyzed by each center separately following a standardized methodology to ensure comparability of results. Poisson autoregressive models allowing for overdispersion were fitted. Fixed effects models were used to pool the individual regression coefficients when there was no evidence of heterogeneity among the cities and random effects models otherwise. Factors possibly correlated with heterogeneity were also investigated. Significant positive associations were found between daily deaths and both NO2 and O3. Increases of 50 micrograms/m3 in NO2 (1-hour maximum) or O3 (1-hour maximum) were associated with a 1.3% (95% confidence interval 0.9-1.8) and 2.9% (95% confidence interval 1.0-4.9) increase in the daily number of deaths, respectively. Stratified analysis of NO2 effects by low and high levels of black smoke or O3 showed no significant evidence for an interaction within each city. However, there was a tendency for larger effects of NO2 in cities with higher levels of black smoke. The pooled estimate for the O3 effect was only slightly reduced, whereas the one for NO2 was almost halved (although it remained significant) when two pollutant models including black smoke were applied. The internal validity (consistency across cities) as well as the external validity (similarities with other published studies) of our results on the O3 effect support the hypothesis of a causal relation between O3 and all cause daily mortality. However, the short-term effects of NO2 on mortality may be confounded by other vehicle-derived pollutants. Thus, the issue of independent NO2 effects requires additional investigation.

PMID:
9230780
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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