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Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter constituents and mortality: case-crossover evidence from 32 counties in China

Abstract

A growing number of studies associated increased mortality with exposures to specific fine particulate (PM2.5) constituents, while great heterogeneity exists between locations. In China, evidence linking PM2.5 constituents and mortality was extensively sparse. This study primarily aimed to quantify short-term associations between PM2.5 constituents and non-accidental mortality among the Chinese population. We collected daily mortality records from 32 counties in China between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2013. Daily concentrations of main PM2.5 constituents (organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), nitrate (NO3), sulfate (SO42−), and ammonium (NH4+)) were estimated using the modified Community Multiscale Air Quality model. Time-stratified case-crossover design with conditional logistic regression models was adopted to estimate mortality risks associated with short-term exposures to PM2.5 mass and its constituents. Stratification analyses were done by sex, age, and season. A total of 116,959 non-accidental deaths were investigated. PM2.5 concentrations on the day of death were averaged at 75.7 µg m−3 (control day: 75.6 µg m−3), with an interquartile range (IQR) of 65.2 µg m−3. Per IQR rise in PM2.5, EC, OC, NO3, SO42−, and NH4+ at lag-04 day was associated with an increase in non-accidental mortality of 2.4% (95% confidence interval, (1.0–3.7), 1.7% (0.8–2.7), 2.9% (1.6–4.3), 2.1% (0.4–3.9), 1.0% (0.2–1.9), and 1.6% (0.3–2.9), respectively. Both PM2.5 mass and its constituents were strongly associated with elevated cardiovascular mortality risks, but only PM2.5, EC, and OC were positively associated with respiratory mortality at lag-3 day. PM2.5 mass and its constituents associated effects on mortality varied among sex- and age-specific subpopulations. Differences in the seasonal pattern of associations exist among PM2.5 constituents, with stronger effects related to EC and NO3 in warm months but SO42− and NH4+ in cold months. Short-term exposures to PM2.5 compositions were positively associated with increased risks of mortality, particularly those constituents from combustion-related sources.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (2021CFB032), Youth Fund Project of Humanities and Social Sciences Research of the Ministry of Education (21YJCZH229), and the Science and Technology Research Project of Hubei Provincial Department of Education (Q20201104).

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Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter constituents and mortality: case-crossover evidence from 32 counties in China

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Zhou, P., Hu, J., Yu, C. et al. Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter constituents and mortality: case-crossover evidence from 32 counties in China. Sci. China Life Sci. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11427-021-2098-7

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Keywords

  • PM2.5 constituents
  • mortality
  • case-crossover design
  • China