Acidic PM and Daily Human Mortality in Three U.S. CitiesEPA Grant Number: R825264
Title: Acidic PM and Daily Human Mortality in Three U.S. Cities
Institution: New York University Medical Center
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: November 18, 1996 through November 17, 1999
Project Amount: $383,008
RFA: Air Quality (1996) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air
Description:Recent epidemiologic studies have indicated associations between ambient particulate matter (PM) air pollution and increased mortality and morbidity. In the few studies where components of PM have been considered, it has been suggested that the constituents which comprise the mass vary in their relative potencies. Unfortunately, the particle characterizations available for most past epidemiologic studies have been extremely limited (especially for recent time-series studies showing mortality associations with PM10, the mass of particles with da less than 10Fm). Thus, there is presently little epidemiologic basis for evaluating the relative potencies of the various PM mass constituents vis-a-vis human health. Moreover, few studies have evaluated the acute health implications of PM constituents to potentially sensitive subpopulations, such as minorities, the elderly, and those with respiratory disease (e.g. asthma). We have available to us a unique PM database which we propose to analyze to assess the relative roles of various PM components on human mortality and morbidity in the total population and in potentially sensitive subpopulations. The dataset includes daily PM measurements for the Buffalo, NY and New York City, NY metropolitan areas during the years 1988, 1989 and 1990, and for Philadelphia, PA during 1992 and 1993. Our dataset is unique in that it contains years of simultaneously collected daily measurements of multiple PM constituents, including PM10, fine particles (PM2.5), sulfates (SO4=), and acidic aerosols (H+). We will obtain and aggregate daily mortality and hospital admissions records, by race, sex, age, and cause (including contributing causes) for each city, which will then be utilized to evaluate the relative roles of these PM constituents in the PM-mortality and morbidity associations noted in recent years.
The specific hypotheses to be tested in this research are: a) That acidic aerosols represent a PM component that is especially harmful to human health and b) that certain subpopulations are especially susceptible to adverse health effects from ambient PM exposures, either because of higher exposure or biological sensitivity. Time-series analyses will be applied to data sets to test the relative strengths of association between the various PM exposure metrics and the various relevant categories of human mortality/morbidity. This comprehensive assessment of the various PM components' air pollution associations will help provide the basis for quantitative assessments as to: 1) which of these components of PM are most influential in the PM-health associations indicated by past research, and; 2) which subpopulations, if any, may be at most risk of acute adverse health from these PM pollution exposures.