Chronic and Acute Exposure to Ambient Fine Particulate Matter and Other Air Pollutants: National Cohort Studies of Mortality and Morbidity

EPA Grant Number: R830548
Title: Chronic and Acute Exposure to Ambient Fine Particulate Matter and Other Air Pollutants: National Cohort Studies of Mortality and Morbidity
Investigators: Samet, Jonathan M. , Dominici, Francesca , Geyh, Alison , McDermott, Aidan , Parent, Stephen T. , Wyant, Timothy , Zeger, Scott L.
Current Investigators: Samet, Jonathan M.
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University , Decipher , Health Systems Innovations
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: February 1, 2003 through January 31, 2006 (Extended to January 31, 2007)
Project Amount: $1,033,646
RFA: Epidemiologic Research on Health Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Particulate Matter and Other Air Pollutants (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Health Effects , Particulate Matter , Air


This application addresses a key uncertainty in the evidence on the effects of particulate matter (PM) on public health: the effects of longer-term exposure to airborne PM, including PM2.5, on morbidity and mortality. By using large, existing cohorts established by federal agencies, we will 1) test the hypothesis that long-term exposure to PM increases mortality and morbidity; 2) explore whether any effect of PM varies with levels of other pollutants; and 3) compare risks of exposure to PM in persons with and without underlying heart and lung disease. As the large cohorts include daily data, we will also apply methods for time-series analysis to compare the effect of PM on time scales ranging from daily to yearly. We will also explore spatial variation of the effects of PM and other pollutants. We will also establish a protocol for ongoing use of these studies for tracking the public health risks of air pollution.

The focus of analysis will be the longitudinal data in the Medicare Encrypted Beneficiary File or the National Claims History File (NCHF), comprising a 5% sample of Medicare participants followed for hospitalization and death. Hospitalization data will be used to construct comorbidity measures and a separate smaller survey provides information on potential confounding factors. We will also assess use of the Veterans SF-36 or Veteran’s Health Study, which includes 900,000 persons. Data on hospitalization and mortality from these cohorts will be combined with weather data and the air monitoring data routinely collected by the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the 3 years of the project, we will obtain data and create the analytic data base, address methodological issues related to imputation of potential confounding factors, and estimate the acute and chronic effects of PM2.5 and other pollutants on morbidity and mortality, including characterizing effects on differing timescales and regions of the country.

We have identified epidemiologic cohorts that can provide reasonably precise estimates of the health risks posed by PM2.5 and other pollutants. The cohorts will provide sufficient events to directly address risks of PM2.5 without using surrogate indicators. The data will offer insights into cardiac and respiratory comorbidity as a determinant of susceptibility and into the differing magnitudes of risks found in the time-series and cohort studies of PM. The findings will advance understanding of the public health consequences of air pollution and support the development of more certain risk models for air pollution and health.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 12 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 12 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, health effects, epidemiology, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, HUMAN HEALTH, particulate matter, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Exposure, Epidemiology, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Physical Processes, copollutant exposures, sensitive populations, atmospheric particulate matter, cardiopulmonary responses, fine particles, morbidity, PM 2.5, airway epithelial cells, long term exposure, inhaled pollutants, acute lung injury, acute cardiovascular effects, air pollution, susceptible subpopulations, cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary response, chronic health effects, human exposure, lung inflammation, particulate exposure, time series analysis, National Cohort Studies, Acute health effects, inhaled, human susceptibility, cardiopulmonary, cardiotoxicity, mortality, acute exposure, air quality, cardiovascular disease, human health risk, toxics, concentrated particulate matter, environmental hazard exposures, air contaminant exposure

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • Final Report