Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 223, Issue 6, pp 3445-3459

Evaluation of Premature Mortality Caused by Exposure to PM2.5 and Ozone in East Asia: 2000, 2005, 2020

  • Amin NawahdaAffiliated withPlanning and Training Department, Asia Center of Air Pollution Research Email author 
  • , Ken YamashitaAffiliated withPlanning and Training Department, Asia Center of Air Pollution Research
  • , Toshimasa OharaAffiliated withNational Institute of Environmental Studies
  • , Junichi KurokawaAffiliated withPlanning and Training Department, Asia Center of Air Pollution Research
  • , Kazuyo YamajiAffiliated withJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

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The aim of this study is to assess the premature mortality risks caused by exposure to particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and ozone elevated concentrations for the years 2000, 2005, and 2020 in East Asia. The spatial distributions and temporal variations of PM2.5 and ozone concentrations are simulated using the Models-3 Community Multiscale Air Quality Modeling System coupled with the Regional Emission Inventory in Asia. The premature mortality risks caused by exposure to PM2.5 and ozone are calculated based on a relative risk (RR) value of 1.04 (95 % confidence interval (CI): 1.01–1.08) for PM2.5 concentrations above the annual mean limit of 10 μg m−3 taken from the World Health Organization–Air Quality Guideline and based on a RR value of 1.003 (95 % CI: 1.001–1.004) for ozone concentration above 35 ppb of the SOMO35 index (the sum of ozone daily maximum 8-h mean concentrations above 35 ppb). We demonstrate one of the implications of the policy making in the area of environmental atmospheric management in East Asia by highlighting the annual premature mortalities associated with exposure to PM2.5 concentrations that just meet an annual mean concentration of 10 μg m−3, as well as ozone concentrations that have a daily zero SOMO35 index in vulnerable places. Our results point to a growing health risk that may endanger human life in East Asia. We find that the effect of PM2.5 on human health is greater than the effect of ozone for the age group of 30 years and above. We estimate the corresponding premature mortality due to the effects of both ozone and PM2.5 in East Asia for the years 2000 and 2005 to be around 316,000 and 520,000 cases, respectively. For future scenarios of the year 2020, policy succeed case, reference, and policy failed case, the estimated annual premature mortality rates are 451,000, 649,000, and 1,035,000 respectively.


East Asia Premature mortality Ozone PM2.5 Relative risk SOMO35