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The impact of size-segregated particle properties on daily mortality in Seoul, Korea


To investigate the causative component for certain health outcomes, the associations between the properties of ambient particles and cause-specific mortality (all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory-related mortality) measured in Seoul, Korea, from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2016, were evaluated with a quasi-Poisson generalized additive model (GAM). The total mass of PM10 and PM2.5 moderately affected respiratory-related mortality but had almost no impact on all-cause and cardiovascular-related mortality. Among PM2.5 mass compositions, ammonium sulfate, which is in generally 300–500 nm as a secondary species, showed the most statistically significant effect on respiratory-related mortality at lag 4 (p < 0.1) but not for other mortalities. However, from the size-selective investigations, cardiovascular-related mortality was impacted by particle number concentrations (PNCs), particle surface concentrations (PSCs), and particle volume concentrations (PVCs) in the size range from 50 to 200 nm with a statistically significant association, particularly at lag 1, suggesting that mass is not the only way to examine mortality, which is likely because mass and chemical composition concentrations are generally controlled by larger-sized particles. Our study suggests that the size-specific mortality and/or impacts of size-resolved properties on mortalities need to be evaluated since smaller particles get into the body more efficiently, and therefore, more diverse size-dependent causes and effects can occur.

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Availability of data and materials

The daily mortality data were acquired from the MicroData Integrated Service (MDIS) operated by Statistics Korea ( The hourly air pollutant data (PM10, PM2.5, and PM1) were acquired from the National Institute of Environment Research (NIER). The hourly ambient temperature, RH, WS, and WD data were acquired from the Korea meteorological administration ( Raw data are archived at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology and are available on request.


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National Institute of Environment Research (NIER) funded by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of the Republic of Korea for providing Air pollution data sets.


This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2021R1A2C2004365).

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Hwajin Kim designed the manuscript and contributed discussions for the manuscript. Eun Ha Park collects and analyzes the data, and prepared the manuscript. Jongbae Heo assisted the statistics for data analysis and provides useful discussions.

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Correspondence to Hwajin Kim.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Park, E.H., Kim, H. & Heo, J. The impact of size-segregated particle properties on daily mortality in Seoul, Korea. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 45248–45260 (2022).

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  • Ambient particles
  • Cause-specific mortality
  • Particle number concentrations
  • Particle surface area concentrations
  • Particle volume concentrations