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J Korean Med Sci. 2018 Aug 23;33(37):e251. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e251. eCollection 2018 Sep 10.

Premature Deaths Attributable to Long-term Exposure to Ambient Fine Particulate Matter in the Republic of Korea.

Author information

1
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
2
Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Background:

Ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is the major environmental health risk factor in Korea. Exposure to PM2.5 has been a growing public concern nationwide. With the rapid aging of the Korean population, the health effects attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5 were expected to increase further in the future. We aimed to estimate premature deaths attributable to long-term exposure to ambient PM2.5 in Korea.

Methods:

A modelled estimation of long-term exposure to PM2.5 was used to calculate the nationwide exposure level. Hazard ratios of long-term exposure to PM2.5 were obtained from a large prospective cohort study in North America. Modified cause of death (CoD) data, which applied the garbage code reclassification algorithm, were used to calculate premature deaths attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5.

Results:

From 1990 to 2013, the average population-weighted PM2.5 concentration in Korea was 30.2 μg/m3. The estimated number of premature deaths was 17,203 (95% confidence interval [CI], 11,056-22,772). The most common CoD was ischemic stroke (5,382; 3,101-7,403), followed by cancer of trachea, bronchus, and lung (4,958; 2,857-6,820), hemorrhagic stroke (3,452; 1,989-4,748), and ischemic heart disease (3,432; 1,383-5,358).

Conclusion:

Premature deaths due to long-term exposure to PM2.5 accounted for 6.4% of all deaths in Korea. However, individual efforts alone cannot prevent the effects of air pollution. This disease burden study can serve as a basis for the establishment of government policies and budgets and can be used to assess the effectiveness of environmental health policies.

KEYWORDS:

Air Pollution; Air Quality; Mortality; Particulate Matter; Premature Deaths

PMID:
30190659
PMCID:
PMC6125317
DOI:
10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e251
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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