Scientific Publications

Air pollution and mortality: Effect modification by personal characteristics and specific cause of death in a case-only study


Abstract - Short-term effects of air pollution on mortality have been well documented in the literature worldwide. Less is known about which subpopulations are more vulnerable to air pollution. We conducted a case-only study in Hong Kong to examine the potential effect modification by personal characteristics and specific causes of death. Individual information of 402,184 deaths of non-external causes and daily mean concentrations of air pollution were collected from 2001 to 2011. For a 10 μg/m3 increase of pollution concentration, people aged ≥∇65 years (compared with younger ages) had a 0.9–1.8% additional increase in mortality related to PM, NO2, and SO2. People dying from cardiorespiratory diseases (compared with other non-external causes) had a 1.6–2.3% additional increase in PM and NO2 related mortality. Other subgroups that were particularly susceptible were females and those economically inactive. Lower socioeconomic status and causes of cardiorespiratory diseases would increase the likelihood of death associated with air pollution.