1999 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 , Coull, Brent , O'Neill, M. , Zanobetti, Antonella
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, 1999 through May 31, 2000
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


This project is one of four projects under Theme II: Identifying Populations Susceptible to the Health Effects of Particulate Air Pollution of our proposal. This project was intended to address Particulate Matter Research Topic 10 identified by the National Research Council (NRC) - Methods for Statistical Analysis of Epidemiologic Studies. 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:

The epidemiologic studies of the effects of acute PM exposures on daily mortality and daily hospital admissions have been based on traditional time-series regression applied to single cities. The strength of these analyses has been the consistency of the results across cities. Composite estimates of effects across cities have been generated. Single city analyses have low power to assess confounding and effect modification. We have developed and applied new methods for combining results across multiple cities to assess confounding, effect modification, lag structures, and the shape of the dose response function.

These multi-city approaches have been applied to existing daily mortality and hospital admissions databases to assess confounding by gaseous co-pollutants (Schwartz, 2000) and effect modification (Schwartz, 2000; Zanobetti and Schwartz, 2000).

Assessing PM effects requires consideration of lag structures over multiple days. Estimation of distributed lag models was previously only feasible using ordinary linear methods. Zanobetti and colleagues (2000) have developed methods for estimating distributed lag models within the preferred generalized additive models.

We applied these distributed lag methods to daily mortality time series in 10 cities, and estimated the net effect of PM10 on daily cause-specific mortality up to 7 days after exposure and the shape of the lag structure (Braga, et al., 2000). A 10 µg/m3 increase in 7-day exposure to PM10 was associated with a 2.7 percent (95 percent CI 1.6 percent to 3.8 percent) increase in pneumonia deaths, a 1.7 percent (95 percent CI 0.1 percent to 3.3 percent) increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths, and a 0.6 percent (0.2 percent to 1.0 percent) increase in cardiovascular deaths. Respiratory deaths were more affected by PM10 exposure over several days prior, while cardiovascular deaths were more affected by PM10 exposure on the same day.

We applied nonparametric smoothing methods to assess the shape of the PM10 exposure response with daily mortality in 10 cities (Schwartz and Zanobetti, 2000). These city-specific exposure response functions were then combined across all cities. The combined exposure response function was very close to linear, and showed no indication of a threshold down to the lowest levels observed in the analysis.

Future Activities:

The combined multi-city methods discussed in this report are being applied to other health outcome data and other cities.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 22 publications for this subproject

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, chemical exposure, interindividual variability, molecular epidemiology, ambient air quality, particulates, risk assessment, sensitive populations, ambient air monitoring, health risks, cardiopulmonary responses, indoor exposure, human health effects, developmental effects, epidemelogy, respiratory disease, Utah (UT), exposure, pulmonary disease, ambient measurement methods, air pollution, Massachusetts (MA), particle exposure, biological mechanism , Human Health Risk Assessment, children, pre-existing conditions, lung cancer, human exposure, ambient particle health effects, Illinois (IL), cardiopulmonary response, particulate exposure, inhalation, mortality studies, pulmonary, inhalation toxicology, Connecticut (CT), elderly, human susceptibility, inhaled particles, indoor air quality, toxics, genetic susceptibility, air quality, dosimetry, cardiovascular disease, human health risk

Relevant Websites:

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

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2000 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