The Effect of Air Pollution Control on Life Expectancy in the United States: A Population-Based Analysis of Major Metropolitan Areas

EPA Grant Number: R834894
Title: The Effect of Air Pollution Control on Life Expectancy in the United States: A Population-Based Analysis of Major Metropolitan Areas
Investigators: Dominici, Francesca , Dockery, Douglas W. , Ezzati, Majid , Pope, Clive Arden
Institution: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , Brigham Young University , Imperial College , The Johns Hopkins University
Current Institution: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , Brigham Young University , Imperial College
EPA Project Officer: Ilacqua, Vito
Project Period: July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013 (Extended to June 30, 2014)
Project Amount: $300,000
RFA: Exploring New Air Pollution Health Effects Links in Existing Datasets (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air

Description:

Over the past few decades, there have been substantial and measurable improvements in ambient air quality in the United States (US), which are at least partly due to air pollution regulations. There also have been improvements in population survival, primarily as a result of decline in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, although the change in life expectancy has been highly variable across US counties. Given the differential changes in air pollution and life expectancy, we propose to conduct analyses that will directly estimate the benefits of lower air pollution on survival, adjusting for temporal trends in other key predictors of mortality. The proposed study brings together an experienced multi-disciplinary team of investigators with the objective of determining quantitatively the impacts of trends in selected criteria pollutants on cause-specific mortality and life expectancy in a population-based study.

Objective:

To estimate the effects of trends in measured PM2.5 (fine PM or particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 mm), PM10 (inhalable PM or particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 mm), PM10-2.5 (coarse PM or particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter greater than 2.5 mm and less than or equal to 10 mm), PM2.5 constituents, ozone, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) on cardiopulmonary mortality for the several hundred US counties with measurement data between 1999 and 2008. A.2. To estimate the resulting effects of changes in cardiopulmonary mortality associated with air pollution trends on life expectancy at birth in the same counties.

Approach:

Development of statistical modeling strategies which will include: Bayesian hierarchical models to estimate adjusted death rates; Bayesian approach to distributed lag functions; mixed effects Poisson regression models; Cox models with time dependent covariates.

Expected Results:

The proposed research will provide essential new data sources, methods, and empirical knowledge on how differential trends in key criteria pollutants and PM2.5 chemical components have affected the trends in cause-specific mortality and life expectancy in a national study. The quantitative assessment of the health benefits of lower concentrations will:

  • Help support or evaluate the findings of prospective studies on the magnitude of hazardous effects at various concentrations.
  • Evaluate the benefits of reducing multiple air pollutants in a population health framework, hence explicitly accounting for multiple determinants of, and secular trends in, cause-specific mortality.
  • Provide a model for subsequent accountability research on health benefits of reducing air pollution, and a valuable data and methodological platform for subsequent analyses.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 43 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 31 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

life expectancy, spatio temporal data, confounding, air pollution

Progress and Final Reports:

2012 Progress Report
2013 Progress Report
Final Report