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Environmental health perspectives

Natural-cause mortality and long-term exposure to particle components: an analysis of 19 European cohorts within the multi-center ESCAPE project.


PMID 25712504

Abstract

Studies have shown associations between mortality and long-term exposure to particulate matter air pollution. Few cohort studies have estimated the effects of the elemental composition of particulate matter on mortality. Our aim was to study the association between natural-cause mortality and long-term exposure to elemental components of particulate matter. Mortality and confounder data from 19 European cohort studies were used. Residential exposure to eight a priori-selected components of particulate matter (PM) was characterized following a strictly standardized protocol. Annual average concentrations of copper, iron, potassium, nickel, sulfur, silicon, vanadium, and zinc within PM size fractions ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and ≤ 10 μm (PM10) were estimated using land-use regression models. Cohort-specific statistical analyses of the associations between mortality and air pollution were conducted using Cox proportional hazards models using a common protocol followed by meta-analysis. The total study population consisted of 291,816 participants, of whom 25,466 died from a natural cause during follow-up (average time of follow-up, 14.3 years). Hazard ratios were positive for almost all elements and statistically significant for PM2.5 sulfur (1.14; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.23 per 200 ng/m3). In a two-pollutant model, the association with PM2.5 sulfur was robust to adjustment for PM2.5 mass, whereas the association with PM2.5 mass was reduced. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 sulfur was associated with natural-cause mortality. This association was robust to adjustment for other pollutants and PM2.5.

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