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Although ambient PM2.5 has been linked to adverse health effects, the chemical constituents that cause harm are largely unclear. Few prior studies in a developing country have reported the health impacts of PM2.5 constituents. In this study, we examined the short-term association between PM2.5 constituents and emergency room visits in Shanghai, China. We measured daily concentrations of PM2.5, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and eight water-soluble ions between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012. We analyzed the data using overdispersed generalized linear Poisson models. During our study period, the mean daily average concentration of PM2.5 in Shanghai was 55 μg/m3. Major contributors to PM2.5 mass included OC, EC, sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium. For a 1-day lag, an interquartile range increment in PM2.5 mass (36.47 μg/m3) corresponded to 0.57% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.13%, 1.01%] increase of emergency room visits. In all the three models used, we found significant positive associations of emergency room visits with OC and EC. Our findings suggest that PM2.5 constituents from the combustion of fossil fuel (e.g., OC and EC) may have an appreciable influence on the health impact attributable to PM2.5.
Qiao, L., J. Cai, H. Wang, W. Wang, M. Zhou, S. Lou, R. Chen, H. Dai, C. Chen, & H. Kan (2014) PM2.5 Constituents and Hospital Emergency-Room Visits in Shanghai, China, Environmental Science and technology.