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Ambient air pollutant measurement error: characterization and impacts in a time-series epidemiologic study in Atlanta.


ABSTRACT: In time-series studies of ambient air pollution and health in large urban areas, measurement errors associated with instrument precision and spatial variability vary widely across pollutants. In this paper, we characterize these errors for selected air pollutants and estimate their impacts on epidemiologic results from an ongoing study of air pollution and emergency department visits in Atlanta. Error was modeled for daily measures of 12 air pollutants using collocated monitor data to characterize instrument precision and data from multiple study area monitors to estimate population-weighted spatial variance. Time-series simulations of instrument and spatial error were generated for each pollutant, added to a reference pollutant time-series, and used in a Poisson generalized linear model of air pollution and cardiovascular emergency department visits. Reductions in risk ratio due to instrument precision error were less than 6%. Error due to spatial variability resulted in average risk ratio reductions of less than 16% for secondary pollutants (O(3), PM(2.5) sulfate, nitrate and ammonium) and between 43% and 68% for primary pollutants (NO(x), NO(2), SO(2), CO, PM(2.5) elemental carbon); pollutants of mixed origin (PM(10), PM(2.5), PM(2.5) organic carbon) had intermediate impacts. Quantifying impacts of measurement error on health effect estimates improves interpretation across ambient pollutants.

SUBMITTER: Goldman GT 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2948846 | BioStudies | 2010-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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