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Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Oct 1;186(7):857-865. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx127.

Residential Proximity to Major Roadways, Fine Particulate Matter, and Hepatic Steatosis: The Framingham Heart Study.


We examined associations between ambient air pollution and hepatic steatosis among 2,513 participants from the Framingham (Massachusetts) Offspring Study and Third Generation Cohort who underwent a computed tomography scan (2002-2005), after excluding men who reported >21 drinks/week and women who reported >14 drinks/week. We calculated each participant's residential-based distance to a major roadway and used a spatiotemporal model to estimate the annual mean concentrations of fine particulate matter. Liver attenuation was measured by computed tomography, and liver-to-phantom ratio (LPR) was calculated. Lower values of LPR represent more liver fat. We estimated differences in continuous LPR using linear regression models and prevalence ratios for presence of hepatic steatosis (LPR ≤ 0.33) using generalized linear models, adjusting for demographics, individual and area-level measures of socioeconomic position, and clinical and lifestyle factors. Participants who lived 58 m (25th percentile) from major roadways had lower LPR (β = -0.003, 95% confidence interval: -0.006, -0.001) and higher prevalence of hepatic steatosis (prevalence ratio = 1.16, 95% confidence interval: 1.05, 1.28) than those who lived 416 m (75th percentile) away. The 2003 annual average fine particulate matter concentration was not associated with liver-fat measurements. Our findings suggest that living closer to major roadways was associated with more liver fat.


air pollution; computed tomography; fine particulate matter; hepatic steatosis; liver fat

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