The relationships between short-term exposure to particulate matter and mortality in Korea: Impact of particulate matter exposure metrics for sub-daily exposures

Most studies of short-term particulate matter (PM) exposure use 24 h averages. However, other pollutants have stronger effects in shorter timeframes, which has influenced policy (e.g., ozone 8 h maximum). The selection of appropriate exposure timeframes is important for effective regulation. The US EPA identified health effects for sub-daily PM exposures as a critical research need. Unlike most areas, Seoul, Korea has hourly measurements of PM10, although not PM2.5. We investigated PM10 and mortality (total, cardiovascular, respiratory) in Seoul (1999–2009) considering sub-daily exposures: 24 h, daytime (7 am–8 pm), morning (7–10 am), nighttime (8 pm–7 am), and 1 h daily maximum. We applied Poisson generalized linear modeling adjusting for temporal trends and meteorology. All PM10 metrics were significantly associated with total mortality. Compared to other exposure timeframes, morning exposure had the most certain effect on total mortality (based on statistical significance). Increases of 10 μg m−3 in 24 h, daytime, morning, nighttime, and 1 h maximum PM10 were associated with 0.15% (95% confidence interval 0.02–0.28%), 0.14% (0.01–0.27%), 0.10% (0.03–0.18%), 0.12% (0.03–0.22%), and 0.10% (0.00–0.21%) increases in total mortality, respectively. PM10 was significantly associated with cardiovascular mortality for 24 h, morning, and nighttime exposures. We did not identify significant associations with respiratory mortality. The results support use of a 24 h averaging time as an appropriate metric for health studies and regulation, particularly for PM10 and mortality.

 The relationships between short-term exposure to particulate matter and mortality in Korea: Impact of particulate matter exposure metrics for sub-daily exposures

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Authors: 
Ji-Young Son
Michelle L. Bell
Journal: 
Environmental Research Letters 8, 014015