2000 Progress Report: Assessing Life-Shortening Associated with Exposure to Particulate Matter

EPA Grant Number: R827353C005
Subproject: this is subproject number 005 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827353
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Harvard Particle Center
Center Director: Koutrakis, Petros
Title: Assessing Life-Shortening Associated with Exposure to Particulate Matter
Investigators: Schwartz, Joel
Current Investigators: Schwartz, Joel , Bateson, Thomas F , Zanobetti, Antonella , Coull, Brent , O'Neill, M.
Institution: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2005 (Extended to May 31, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2000 through May 31, 2001
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air

Objective:

This project is one of four projects under Theme II: Identifying Populations Susceptible to the Health Effects of Particulate Air Pollution of our proposal. The main objective of this project is to examine whether particles advance mortality by a few days (harvesting) or have a more profound impact on public health.

Progress Summary:

During the past 2 years, we have published several papers on harvesting. The first two used a smoothing approach to examine the association of PM over time with daily deaths in Boston (Schwartz, 2000) and Chicago (Schwartz, 2001). Hospital admissions also were examined in the second paper. The main conclusions of our analyses is that particle effects on mortality and morbidity become stronger as average time increases. We then developed a new methodology, using smoothed distributed lag models, and applied it to data on air pollution and daily deaths in Milan, Italy (Zanobetti, et al., 2000). This paper confirmed that far from reduced effects, "harvesting resistent" estimates provide estimated effect sizes that are twice as great. Currently, we are extending the long distributed lag approach to examining the harvesting effect in 10 cities in Europe.

In a related matter, we also have clarified that control for influenza and other respiratory epidemics does not change the effect size estimates for PM effects on daily deaths (Braga, et al., 2000).

Another key issue in assessing the life-shortening effects of PM exposure is the question of dose-response. If there are thresholds for the effects of particles on deaths or hospital admissions then estimates of the public health effect will be overstated. To examine this issue, we first developed a new methodology that allows the combination of smoothed dose-response curves from multiple locations. We demonstrated its effectiveness using simulation studies, and applied it to an analysis of PM10 and daily deaths in 10 U.S. cities. There was no deviation from linearity down to the lowest exposure concentrations observed (Schwartz and Zanobetti, 2000). We then extended the methodology to incorporate heterogeneity in response across cities, developing a smoothed estimate that allowed the heterogeneity to vary by exposure level. This new methodology was then applied to 8 cities in Spain, representing the first assessment of dose-response in Europe, where diesel particles are a substantially larger fraction of the total particle mix (Schwartz, et al., in press). In addition, we extended the methodology to two pollutant models, and also examined the sensitivity of the shape of the dose-response curve to the way season and weather was controlled. We found a significant linear association between daily deaths and black smoke. The association was little changed by variations in control for weather, season, or SO2. In contrast, for SO2, the association was implausible (inverted U shape) and disappeared with control for black smoke. Subsequently, we further expanded the methodology to include random slopes, which allow assessment of predictors of heterogeneity in nonlinear dose-response curves, using hierarchical models. We have applied this to examining the dose-response between PM10 and hospital admissions for heart and lung disease.

Finally, we have made important progress in assessing the effect of confounding by co-pollutants on the relation between particles and morbidity and mortality. We have developed a new approach to assessing confounding in a hierarchical model, and applied it to examining the association between PM10 and daily deaths (Schwartz, 2000). This approach showed that associations were not confounded by gaseous air pollutants. The methodology was then applied to a year and season specific analysis of data from Philadelphia to confirm that the association was with particles, and not SO2, and to demonstrate that it was predominantly associated with the finer particles (Schwartz, 2000).

Future Activities:

We will continue efforts to extend the long distributed lag approach to examining the harvesting effect in 10 cities in Europe. The results of a recently completed paper (Zanobetti, et al., in review) will be presented this fall at the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) meeting. We also will complete a manuscript that reports the findings of our dose-response study.


Journal Articles on this Report : 5 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 22 publications 22 publications in selected types All 22 journal articles
Other center views: All 200 publications 198 publications in selected types All 197 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Braga ALF, Zanobetti A, Schwartz J. Do respiratory epidemics confound the association between air pollution and daily deaths? European Respiratory Journal 2000;16(4):723-728. R827353 (Final)
R827353C005 (2000)
R827353C005 (2002)
R827353C005 (2003)
R827353C005 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: European Respiratory Journal-Full Text PDF
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  • Abstract: European Respiratory Journal-Abstract
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  • Journal Article Schwartz J. Harvesting and long term exposure effects in the relation between air pollution and mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000;151(5):440-448. R827353 (Final)
    R827353C005 (2000)
    R827353C005 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: AJE-Full Text PDF
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  • Abstract: AJE-Abstract
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  • Journal Article Schwartz J, Zanobetti A. Using meta-smoothing to estimate dose-response trends across multiple studies, with application to air pollution and daily death. Epidemiology 2000;11(6):666-672. R827353 (Final)
    R827353C005 (2000)
    R827353C005 (2002)
    R827353C005 (2003)
    R827353C005 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Epidemiology-Full Text HTML
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  • Abstract: Epidemiology-Abstract & PDF Link
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  • Other: Epidemiology-Full Text PDF
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  • Journal Article Schwartz J. Daily deaths are associated with combustion particles rather than SO2 in Philadelphia. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2000;57(10):692-697. R827353 (Final)
    R827353C005 (2000)
    R827353C005 (2001)
    R827353C005 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: OEM-Full Text HTML
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  • Abstract: OEM-Abstract
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  • Other: OEM-Full Text PDF
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  • Journal Article Schwartz J, Ballester F, Saez M, Perez-Hoyos S, Bellido J, Cambra K, Arribas F, Canada A, Perez-Boillos MJ, Sunyer J. The concentration-response relation between air pollution and daily deaths. Environmental Health Perspectives 2001;109(10):1001-1006. R827353 (Final)
    R827353C005 (2000)
    R827353C005 (2002)
    R827353C005 (2003)
    R827353C005 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    particulate matter, PM2.5, PM10, air pollutants, particulates, health effects, exposure, ambient particles, susceptibility, metals, public policy, biology, engineering, epidemiology, toxicology, environmental chemistry, monitoring., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, particulate matter, Toxicology, Environmental Chemistry, Epidemiology, State, Risk Assessments, Microbiology, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Monitoring, genetic susceptability, Atmospheric Sciences, Molecular Biology/Genetics, Biology, Environmental Engineering, ambient air quality, interindividual variability, molecular epidemiology, particulates, risk assessment, sensitive populations, chemical exposure, cardiopulmonary responses, health risks, human health effects, indoor exposure, ambient air monitoring, ambient measurement methods, exposure, pulmonary disease, Utah (UT), developmental effects, epidemelogy, respiratory disease, air pollution, children, Human Health Risk Assessment, Massachusetts (MA), particle exposure, lung cancer, biological mechanism , pre-existing conditions, cardiopulmonary response, human exposure, inhalation, pulmonary, Illinois (IL), particulate exposure, ambient particle health effects, mortality studies, elderly, Connecticut (CT), human susceptibility, inhalation toxicology, indoor air quality, inhaled particles, air quality, cardiovascular disease, dosimetry, human health risk, respiratory, genetic susceptibility

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/epacenter/homeframe.htm Exit EPA icon

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827353    Harvard Particle Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827353C001 Assessing Human Exposures to Particulate and Gaseous Air Pollutants
    R827353C002 Quantifying Exposure Error and its Effect on Epidemiological Studies
    R827353C003 St. Louis Bus, Steubenville and Atlanta Studies
    R827353C004 Examining Conditions That Predispose Towards Acute Adverse Effects of Particulate Exposures
    R827353C005 Assessing Life-Shortening Associated with Exposure to Particulate Matter
    R827353C006 Investigating Chronic Effects of Exposure to Particulate Matter
    R827353C007 Determining the Effects of Particle Characteristics on Respiratory Health of Children
    R827353C008 Differentiating the Roles of Particle Size, Particle Composition, and Gaseous Co-Pollutants on Cardiac Ischemia
    R827353C009 Assessing Deposition of Ambient Particles in the Lung
    R827353C010 Relating Changes in Blood Viscosity, Other Clotting Parameters, Heart Rate, and Heart Rate Variability to Particulate and Criteria Gas Exposures
    R827353C011 Studies of Oxidant Mechanisms
    R827353C012 Modeling Relationships Between Mobile Source Particle Emissions and Population Exposures
    R827353C013 Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emissions of Source Aerosols (TERESA) Study
    R827353C014 Identifying the Physical and Chemical Properties of Particulate Matter Responsible for the Observed Adverse Health Effects
    R827353C015 Research Coordination Core
    R827353C016 Analytical and Facilities Core
    R827353C017 Technology Development and Transfer Core