Background: There is growing concern that moderate levels of outdoor air pollution may be associated with infant mortality, representing substantial loss of life-years. To date, there has been no investigation of the effects of outdoor pollution on infant mortality in the UK.
Methods: Daily time-series data of air pollution and all infant deaths between 1990 and 2000 in 10 major cities of England: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, were analysed. City-specific estimates were pooled across cities in a fixed-effects meta-regression to provide a mean estimate.
Results: Few associations were observed between infant deaths and most pollutants studied. The exception was sulphur dioxide (SO2), of which a 10 μg/m3 increase was associated with a RR of 1.02 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.04) in all infant deaths. The effect was present in both neonatal and postneonatal deaths.
Conclusions: Continuing reductions in SO2 levels in the UK may yield additional health benefits for infants.
- df, degrees of freedom
- PM10, particulate matter <10 μg/m3
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Competing interests: None declared.