Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 6, pp e362–e368 | Cite as

Estimated public health impacts of changes in concentrations of fine particle air pollution in Canada, 2000 to 2011

  • David M. StiebEmail author
  • Stan Judek
  • Aaron van Donkelaar
  • Randall V. Martin
  • Kevin Brand
  • Hwashin H. Shin
  • Richard T. Burnett
  • Marc H. Smith-Doiron
Quantitative Research


OBJECTIVES: To estimate the public health impacts of changes in fine particle air pollution in Canada between 2000 and 2011, employing nationally comprehensive exposure estimates and quantifying the impacts on life expectancy, mortality and morbidity.

METHODS: We employed spatially comprehensive exposure estimates derived from satellite remote sensing to estimate the effects of actual observed changes in concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM), of median aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (i.e., PM2.5), from 2000 to 2011. We estimated changes in life expectancy using standard life table methods and changes in frequency of health outcomes as the product of population, baseline rate of the health outcome and the proportional change in health outcome per specified change in PM2.5 concentration.

RESULTS: A population weighted average decrease in PM2.5 of nearly 25% (2.0 µg/m3) was observed between 2000 and 2011. This was estimated to result in a national population weighted average increase in life expectancy of 0.10 years (95% confidence interval 0.03–0.23; up to 0.34 years in specific census divisions) and reductions in the frequency of mortality and morbidity of up to 3.6%. Increases in PM2.5 up to 3.5 µg/m3 were observed in some census divisions, particularly in the prairies.

CONCLUSION: At the national level, changes in PM2.5 concentrations between 2000 and 2011 were associated with an estimated improvement in national population weighted average life expectancy and a net reduction in mortality and morbidity. Areas that failed to improve or that worsened during this period warrant additional scrutiny to identify options for reducing PM2.5 concentrations.

Key Words

Air pollution life expectancy mortality morbidity 

Mots Clés

pollution de l’air espérance de vie mortalité morbidité 


OBJECTIFS: Estimer les impacts sur la santé publique des changements dans la pollution de l’air en fines particules au Canada entre 2000 et 2011, en employant des estimations d’exposition complètes à l’échelle nationale et en quantifiant les impacts sur l’espérance de vie, la mortalité et la morbidité.

Méthode: Nous avons employé des estimations d’exposition exhaustives dérivées de la télédétection satellitaire pour estimer les effets des changements réels observés dans les concentrations en fines matières particulaires (MP) de diamètre aérodynamique médian <2.5 µm (MP2.5), entre 2000 et 2011. Nous avons estimé les changements dans l’espérance de vie à l’aide des méthodes standard des tables de survie, et les changements dans la fréquence des résultats sanitaires en fonction de la population, du niveau de référence des résultats sanitaires et du changement proportionnel dans les résultats sanitaires selon le changement spécifié de la concentration en MP2.5.

Résultats: Une diminution moyenne des MP2.5 de près de 25 % (2.0 μg/ m3), pondérée selon la population, a été observée entre 2000 et 2011. On estime que cela a entraîné une hausse moyenne nationale de l’espérance de vie, pondérée selon la population, de 0.10 an (intervalle de confiance de 95 %: 0.03–0.23; jusqu’à 0.34 an dans certains secteurs du recensement) et des baisses de fréquence de la mortalité et de la morbidité jusqu’à 3.6 %. Des augmentations maximales de 3.5 μg/m3 des MP2.5 ont été observées dans certains secteurs du recensement, en particulier dans les Prairies.

Conclusion: À l’échelle nationale, les changements dans les concentrations en MP2.5 survenus entre 2000 et 2011 étaient associés à une amélioration estimative de l’espérance de vie moyenne nationale, pondérée selon la population, et à une baisse nette de la mortalité et de la morbidité. Les régions où la situation ne s’est pas améliorée ou s’est aggravée durant la période à l’étude devraient faire l’objet d’un examen approfondi afin de trouver des options pour réduire les concentrations en MP2.5.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Stieb
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stan Judek
    • 3
  • Aaron van Donkelaar
    • 4
  • Randall V. Martin
    • 4
    • 5
  • Kevin Brand
    • 6
  • Hwashin H. Shin
    • 3
    • 7
  • Richard T. Burnett
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marc H. Smith-Doiron
    • 3
  1. 1.Population Studies Division, Health CanadaEnvironments & Consumer Safety Branch, Health CanadaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Population Studies Division, Health CanadaOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Physics and Atmospheric ScienceDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  5. 5.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for AstrophysicsCambridgeUSA
  6. 6.Telfer School of ManagementUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  7. 7.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsQueen’s UniversityKingstonUSA

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