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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013 Oct 2;10(10):4728-51. doi: 10.3390/ijerph10104728.

Acute and subacute effects of urban air pollution on cardiopulmonary emergencies and mortality: time series studies in Austrian cities.

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Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University of Vienna, A-1090 Kinderspitalgasse 15, Austria.


Daily pollution data (collected in Graz over 16 years and in the Linz over 18 years) were used for time series studies (GAM and case-crossover) on the relationship with daily mortality (overall and specific causes of death). Diagnoses of patients who had been transported to hospitals in Linz were also available on a daily basis from eight years for time series analyses of cardiopulmonary emergencies. Increases in air pollutant levels over several days were followed by increases in mortality and the observed effects increased with the length of the exposure window considered, up to a maximum of 15 days. These mortality changes in Graz and Linz showed similar patterns like the ones found before in Vienna. A significant association of mortality could be demonstrated with NO2, PM2.5 and PM10 even in summer, when concentrations are lower and mainly related to motor traffic. Cardiorespiratory ambulance transports increased with NO2/PM2.5/PM10 by 2.0/6.1/1.7% per 10 µg/m³ on the same day. Monitoring of NO2 (related to motor traffic) and fine particulates at urban background stations predicts acute effects on cardiopulmonary emergencies and extended effects on cardiopulmonary mortality. Both components of urban air pollution are indicators of acute cardiopulmonary health risks, which need to be monitored and reduced, even below current standards.

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