Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The acute effects of fine particles on respiratory mortality and morbidity in Beijing, 2004–2009

  • 1181 Accesses

  • 79 Citations


Recent epidemiological and toxicological studies have shown associations between particulate matter and human health. However, the estimates of adverse health effects are inconsistent across many countries and areas. The stratification and interaction models were employed within the context of the generalized additive Poisson regression equation to examine the acute effects of fine particles on respiratory health and to explore the possible joint modification of temperature, humidity, and season in Beijing, China, for the period 2004–2009. The results revealed that the respiratory health damage threshold of the PM2.5 concentration was mainly within the range of 20–60 μg/m3, and the adverse effect of excessively high PM2.5 concentration maintained a stable level. In the most serious case, an increase of 10 μg/m3 PM2.5 results in an elevation of 4.60 % (95 % CI 3.84–4.60 %) and 4.48 % (95 % CI 3.53–5.41 %) with a lag of 3 days, values far higher than the average level of 0.69 % (95 % CI 0.54–0.85 %) and 1.32 % (95 % CI 1.02–1.61 %) for respiratory mortality and morbidity, respectively. There were strong seasonal patterns of adverse effects with the seasonal variation of temperature and humidity. The growth rates of respiratory mortality and morbidity were highest in winter. And, they increased 1.4 and 1.8 times in winter, greater than in the full year as PM2.5 increased 10 μg/m3.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Anderson HR, Bremner SA, Atkinson RW, Harrison RM, Walters S (2001) Particulate matter and daily mortality and hospital admissions in the West Midlands conurbation of the United Kingdom: associations with fine and coarse particles, black smoke, and sulphate. Occup Environ Med 58:504–510

  2. Bell ML, Ebisu K, Peng RD, Walker J, Samet JM, Zeger SL, Dominici F (2008) Seasonal and regional short-term effects of fine particles on hospital admissions in 202 US counties, 1999–2005. Am J Epidemiol 168(11):1301–1310

  3. Cao JJ, Xu HM, Xu Q, Chen BH, Kan HD (2012) Fine particulate matter constituents and cardiopulmonary mortality in a heavily polluted Chinese city. Environ Health Perspect 120:373–378

  4. Chen R, Li Y, Ma Y, Pan G, Zeng G, Xu X, Chen B, Kan H (2011) Coarse particles and mortality in three Chinese cities: the China Air Pollution and Health Effects Study (CAPES). Sci Total Environ 409:4934–4938

  5. Cheng Y, Kan H (2012) Effect of the interaction between outdoor air pollution and extreme temperature on daily mortality in Shanghai, China. J Epidemiol 22:28–36

  6. Cirera L, Rodríguez M, Giménez J, Jiménez E, Saez M, Guillén JJ, Medrano J, Martínez-Victoria MA, Ballester F, Moreno-Grau S, Navarro C (2009) Effects of public health interventions on industrial emissions and ambient air in Cartagena, Spain. Environ Sci Pollut Res 16:152–161

  7. Cohen A, Anderson R, Ostro B, Pandey KD, Krzyzanowski M, Künzli N, Gutschmidt K, Pope A, Romieu I, Samet J, Smith KR (2004) Urban ambient air pollution. In: Ezzati M, Lopez AD, Rodgers A, Murray CJL (eds) Comparative quantification of health risks: global and regional burden of disease attributable to selected major risk factors. WHO, Geneva, Accessed 26 June 2012

  8. Daniels MJ, Dominici F, Samet JM, Zeger SL (2000) Estimating particulate matter-mortality dose–response curves and threshold levels: an analysis of daily time-series for the 20 largest US cities. Am J Epidemiol 152:397–406

  9. Dominici F, Peng RD, Bell ML, Pham L, Dermott MA, Zeger SL, Samet JM (2006) Fine particulate air pollution and hospital admission for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. J Am Med Assoc 295(10):1127–1134

  10. Garrett P, Casimiro E (2011) Short-term effect of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone on daily mortality in Lisbon, Portugal. Environ Sci Pollut Res 18:1585–1592

  11. Goodman PG, Dockery DW, Clancy L (2004) Cause-specific mortality and the extended effects of particulate pollution and temperature exposure. Environ Health Perspect 112:179–185

  12. Guaita R, Pichiule M, Mate T, Linares C, Diaz J (2011) Short-term impact of particulate matter (PM2.5) on respiratory mortality in Madrid. Int J Environ Health Res 21(4):260–274

  13. Ho WC, Lin YS, Caffrey JL, Lin MH, Hsu TH, Myers L, Chen PC, Lin RS (2011) Higher body mass index may induce asthma among adolescents with pre-asthmatic symptoms: a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health 11:542. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-542

  14. Jones AYM, Lam PKW, Gohel MDI (2008) Respiratory health of road-side vendors in a large industrialized city. Environ Sci Pollut Res 15(2):150–154

  15. Kan H, London SJ, Chen G, Zhang Y, Song G, Zhao N, Jiang L, Chen B (2007) Differentiating the effects of fine and coarse particles on daily mortality in Shanghai, China. Environ Int 33:376–384

  16. Kan H, London SJ, Chen G, Zhang Y, Song G, Zhao N, Jiang L, Chen B (2008) Season, sex, age, and education as modifiers of the effects of outdoor air pollution on daily mortality in Shanghai, China: the Public Health and Air Pollution in Asia (PAPA) Study. Environ Health Perspect 116:1183–1188

  17. Katsouyanni K, Touloumi G, Spix C, Schwartz J, Balducci F, Medina S, Rossi G, Wojtyniak B, Sunyer J, Bacharova L, Schouten JP, Ponka A, Anderson HR (1997) Short-term effects of ambient sulphur dioxide and particulate matter on mortality in 12 European cities: results from time series data from the APHEA project. Air Pollution and Health: a European Approach. BMJ 314:1658–1663

  18. Katsouyanni K, Touloumi G, Samoli E, Gryparis A, Tertre LA, Monopolis Y, Rossi G, Zmirou D, Ballester F, Boumghar A, Anderson HR, Wojtyniak B, Paldy A, Braunstein R, Pekkanen J, Schindler C, Schwartz J (2001) Confounding and effect modification in the short-term effects of ambient particles on total mortality: results from 29 European cities within the APHEA2 project. Epidemiology 12:521–531

  19. Keatinge WR, Donaldson GC (2001) Mortality related to cold and air pollution in London after allowance for effects of associated weather patterns. Environ Res 86:209–216

  20. Kelsall JE, Samet JM, Zeger SL, Xu J (1997) Air pollution and mortality in Philadelphia, 1974–1988. Am J Epidemiol 146:750–762

  21. Laden F, Neas LM, Dockery DW, Schwartz J (2000) Association of fine particulate matter from different sources with daily mortality in six U.S. cities. Environ Health Perspect 108:941–947

  22. Leitte AM, Petrescu C, Franck U, Richter M, Suciu O, Ionovici R, Herbarth O, Schlink U (2009) Respiratory health, effects of ambient air pollution and its modification by air humidity in Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania. Sci Total Environ 407:4004–4011

  23. Li GX, Zhou MG, Cai Y, Zhang YJ, Pan XC (2011) Does temperature enhance acute mortality effects of ambient particle pollution in Tianjin City, China. Sci Total Environ 409:1811–1817

  24. Li GX, Zhou MG, Zhang YJ, Cai Y, Pan XC (2012) Seasonal effects of PM10 concentrations on mortality in Tianjin, China: a time-series analysis. J Public Health. doi:10.1007/s10389-012-0529-4

  25. Linares C, Diaz J (2010) Short-term effect of PM2.5 on daily hospital admissions in Madrid (2003–2005). Int J Environ Health Res 20(2):129–140

  26. Liu Z (2011) The particle matter pollution in Beijing-concentration, variation, composition and sources. PhD thesis, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (in Chinese)

  27. Lopez-Villarrubia E, Iniguez C, Peral N, Garcıa MD, Ballester F (2011) Characterizing mortality effects of particulate matter size fractions in the two capital cities of the Canary Islands. Environ Res 112:129–138

  28. Mackenbach JP, Looman CW, Kunst AE (1993) Air pollution, lagged effects of temperature, and mortality: the Netherlands 1979–1987. J Epidemiol Community Health 47(2):121–126

  29. Mallone S, Stafoggia M, Faustini A, Gobbi GP, Marconi A, Forastiere F (2011) Saharan dust and associations between particulate matter and daily mortality in Rome, Italy. Environ Health Perspect 119:1409–1414

  30. Moolgavkar SH, Luebeck EG (1996) A critical review of the evidence on particulate air pollution and mortality. Epidemiology 7:420–428

  31. O’Donnell MJ, Fang J, Mittleman MA, Kapral MK, Wellenius GA (2011) Fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) and the risk of acute ischemic stroke. Epidemiology 22(3):422–431

  32. Ostro B, Broadwin R, Green S, Feng W, Lipsett M (2006) Fine particulate air pollution and mortality in nine California counties: results from CALFINE. Environ Health Perspect 114:29–33

  33. Peng RD, Dominici F, Barriuso RP, Zeger SL, Samet JM (2005) Seasonal analyses of air pollution and mortality in 100 US cities. Am J Epidemiol 161:585–594

  34. Peng RD, Dominici F, Louis TA (2006) Model choice in time series studies of air pollution and mortality. J R Stat Soc A Stat Soc 169:179–198

  35. Peng RD, Bell ML, Geyh AS, McDermott A, Zeger SL, Samet JM, Dominici F (2009) Emergency admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and the chemical composition of fine particle air pollution. Environ Health Perspect 117:957–963

  36. Peters A, Wichmann HE, Tuch T, Heinrich J, Heyder J (1997) Respiratory effects are associated with the number of ultrafine particles. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 155:1376–1383

  37. Pope CA (2000) Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality, and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. J Am Med Assoc 287:1132–1141

  38. Qian Z, Lin HM, Stewart WF, Kong L, Xu F, Zhou D, Zhu Z, Liang S, Chen W, Shah N, Stetter C, He Q (2012) Seasonal pattern of the acute mortality effects of air pollution. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 60:481–488

  39. Qiu H, Yu IT, Wang X, Tian L, Tse LA, Wong TW (2012) Season and humidity dependence of the effects of air pollution on COPD hospitalizations in Hong Kong. Atmospheric Environment. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.07.026

  40. Ren C, Tong S (2006) Temperature modifies the health effects of particulate matter in Brisbane, Australia. Int J Biometeorol 51:87–96

  41. Ren C, Tong S (2008) Health effects of ambient air pollution-recent research development and contemporary methodological challenges. Environ Health 7:56. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-7-56

  42. Samet J, Zeger S, Kelsall J, Xu J, Kalkstein L (1997) Air pollution, weather and mortality in Philadelphia. In: Particulate air pollution and daily mortality. Analysis of the effects of weather and multiple air pollutants: the phase I.B report of the Particle Epidemiology Evaluation Project. Health Effects Institute, Cambridge

  43. Samet J, Zeger S, Kelsall J, Xu J, Kalkstein L (1998) Does weather confound or modify the association of particulate air pollution with mortality? An analysis of the Philadelphia data, 1973–1980. Environ Res 77:9–19

  44. Schwartz J, Dockery DW (1992) Increased mortality in Philadelphia associated with daily air pollution concentrations. Am Rev Respir Dis 145:600–604

  45. Styer P, Millan MN, Gao F, Davis J, Sacks J (1995) Effect of outdoor airborne particulate matter on daily death counts. Environ Health Perspect 103:490–497

  46. Sun Y, Zhuang G, Wang Y, Han L, Guo J, Dan M, Zhang W, Wang Z, Hao Z (2004) The air-borne particulate pollution in Beijing—concentration, composition, distribution and sources. Atmos Environ 38:5991–6004

  47. Sunyer J, Ballester F, Tertre AL, Atkinson R, Ayres JG, Forastiere F, Forsberg B, Vonk JM, Bisanti L, Tenias JM, Medina S, Schwartz J, Katsouyanni K (2003) The association of daily sulfur dioxide air pollution levels with hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases in Europe (The Aphea-II study). Eur Heart J 24:752–760

  48. Tang IN, Munkelwitz HR (1993) Composition and temperature dependence of the deliquescence properties of hygroscopic aerosols. Atmos Environ 27:467–473

  49. Tie X, Wu D, Brasseur G (2009) Lung cancer mortality and exposure to atmospheric aerosol particles in Guangzhou, China. Atmos Environ 43:2375–2377

  50. Welty LJ, Zeger SL (2005) Are the acute effects of particulate matter on mortality in the national morbidity, mortality, and air pollution study the result of inadequate control for weather and season? A sensitivity analysis using flexible distributed lag models. Am J Epidemiol 162:80–88

  51. Wichmann HE (2007) Diesel exhaust particles. Inhal Toxicol 19(suppl):241–244

  52. Wichmann HE, Spix C, Tuch T, Wölke G, Peters A, Heinrich J, Kreyling WG, Heyder J (2000) Daily mortality and fine and ultrafine particles in Erfurt, Germany, part I: role of particle number and particle mass. Res Rep Health Eff Inst 98:5–94

  53. Wong CM, Ma S, Hedley AJ, Lam TH (2001) Effect of air pollution on daily mortality in Hong Kong. Environ Health Perspect 109:335–340

  54. Wong CM, Atkinson RW, Anderson HR, Hedley AJ, Ma S, Chau PYK, Lam TH (2002) A tale of two cities: effects of air pollution on hospital admissions in Hong Kong and London compared. Environ Health Perspect 110:67–77

  55. World Health Organization (2006) WHO air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen, dioxide and sulfur dioxide, Global update 2005. http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair_aqg/en/. Accessed 26 June 2012

  56. Yi O, Hong YC, Kim H (2010) Seasonal effect of PM10 concentrations on mortality and morbidity in Seoul, Korea: a temperature-matched case-crossover analysis. Environ Res 110:89–95

  57. Zanobetti A, Schwartz J (2006) Air pollution and emergency admissions in Boston, MA. J Epidemiol Community Health 60:890–895

  58. Zanobetti A, Schwartz J (2009) The effect of fine and coarse particulate air pollution on mortality: a national analysis. Environ Health Perspect 117:898–903

  59. Zhou J, Ito K, Lall R, Lippmann M, Thurston G (2011) Time-series analysis of mortality effects of fine particulate matter components in Detroit and Seattle. Environ Health Perspect 119(4):461–466

Download references


This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41222033), the CAS Strategic Priority Research Program Grant (XDA05100102, XDB05020200).

Author information

Correspondence to Jinyuan Xin.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Li, P., Xin, J., Wang, Y. et al. The acute effects of fine particles on respiratory mortality and morbidity in Beijing, 2004–2009. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20, 6433–6444 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-1688-8

Download citation


  • Fine particle
  • PM2.5
  • Heath effect
  • Respiratory mortality
  • Respiratory morbidity
  • Beijing