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Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Apr;109(4):335-40.

Effect of air pollution on daily mortality in Hong Kong.

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Department of Community Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


In different weather conditions, constituents and concentrations of pollutants, personal exposure, and biologic responses to air pollution may vary. In this study we assessed the effects of four air pollutants on mortality in both cool and warm seasons in Hong Kong, a subtropical city. Daily counts of mortality, due to all nonaccidental causes, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases were modeled with daily pollutant concentrations [24-hr means for nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter < 10 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM(10)); 8-hr mean for ozone]. using Poisson regression. We controlled for confounding factors by fitting the terms in models, in line with those recommended by the APHEA (Air Pollution and Health: a European Approach) protocol. Exposure-response relationships in warm and cool seasons were examined using generalized additive modeling. During the cool season, for a linear extrapolation of 10th-90th percentiles in the pollutant concentrations of all oxidant pollutants, NO(2), SO(2), and O(3), we found significant effects on all the mortality outcomes under study, with relative risks (RR) of 1.04-1.10 (p < 0.038, except p = 0.079 for SO(2) on respiratory mortality). We observed consistent positive exposure-response relationships during the cool season but not during the warm season. The effects of PM(10) were marginally significant (RR = 1.06; p = 0.054) for respiratory mortality but not for the other outcomes (p > 0.135). In this subtropical city, local air quality objectives should take into account that air pollution has stronger health effects during the cool rather than warm season and that oxidant pollutants are more important indicators of health effects than particulates.

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