OBJECTIVE: The short term association between daily mortality and ambient air pollution in the city of Lyon, France (population, 410,000) between 1985 and 1990 was assessed using time series analysis. DESIGN: This study followed the standardised design and statistical analysis (Poisson regression) that characterise the APHEA project. METHODS: Four categories of cause of death were studied: total (minus external causes), respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive causes (as a control condition). RESULTS: No association was found with any cause of death for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), nor, for any pollutant, for digestive conditions. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and, to a much lesser degree, suspended particles (PM13), were significantly related to mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. The relative risk (RR) of respiratory deaths associated with a 50 micrograms/m3 increment of mean daily SO2 over the whole period was 1.22 (95% CI 1.05, 1.40); the RR for cardiovascular deaths was 1.54 (1.22, 1.96). The corresponding RRs for PM13 were 1.04 (1.00, 1.09) for respiratory mortality and 1.04 (0.99, 1.10) for cardiovascular deaths. CONCLUSIONS: The effects of particulates were slightly increased during the cold season. When particulates concentrations were greater than 60 micrograms/m3, the joint SO2 effect was increased, suggesting some interaction between the two pollution indicators. These results agree with other studies showing an association between particulate pollution and daily mortality; however, they also suggest the noxious effect of SO2.
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