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Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Nov;108(11):1071-7.

Airborne particles are a risk factor for hospital admissions for heart and lung disease.

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  • 1Environmental Epidemiology Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


We examined the association between particulate matter [less than/equal to] 10 microm; (PM(10)) and hospital admission for heart and lung disease in ten U.S. cities. Our three goals were to determine whether there was an association, to estimate how the association was distributed across various lags between exposure and response, and to examine socioeconomic factors and copollutants as effect modifiers and confounders. We fit a Poisson regression model in each city to allow for city-specific differences and then combined the city-specific results. We examined potential confounding by a meta-regression of the city-specific results. Using a model that considered simultaneously the effects of PM(10) up to lags of 5 days, we found a 2.5% [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.8-3. 3] increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a 1.95% (CI, 1. 5-2.4) increase in pneumonia, and a 1.27% increase (CI, 1-1.5) in CVD for a 10 microg/m(3) increase in PM(10). We found similar effect estimates using the mean of PM(10) on the same and previous day, but lower estimates using only PM(10) for a single day. When using only days with PM(10) < 50 mg/m(3), the effect size increased by [greater/equal to] 20% for all three outcomes. These effects are not modified by poverty rates or minority status. The results were stable when controlling for confounding by sulfur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide. These results are consistent with previous epidemiology and recent mechanistic studies in animals and humans.

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