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The use of alternative pollutant metrics in time-series studies of ambient air pollution and respiratory emergency department visits.


ABSTRACT: Various temporal metrics of daily pollution levels have been used to examine the relationships between air pollutants and acute health outcomes. However, daily metrics of the same pollutant have rarely been systematically compared within a study. In this analysis, we describe the variability of effect estimates attributable to the use of different temporal metrics of daily pollution levels. We obtained hourly measurements of ambient particulate matter (PM?.?), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO?), and ozone (O?) from air monitoring networks in 20-county Atlanta for the time period 1993-2004. For each pollutant, we created (1) a daily 1-h maximum; (2) a 24-h average; (3) a commute average; (4) a daytime average; (5) a nighttime average; and (6) a daily 8-h maximum (only for O?). Using Poisson generalized linear models, we examined associations between daily counts of respiratory emergency department visits and the previous day's pollutant metrics. Variability was greatest across O? metrics, with the 8-h maximum, 1-h maximum, and daytime metrics yielding strong positive associations and the nighttime O? metric yielding a negative association (likely reflecting confounding by air pollutants oxidized by O?). With the exception of daytime metric, all of the CO and NO? metrics were positively associated with respiratory emergency department visits. Differences in observed associations with respiratory emergency room visits among temporal metrics of the same pollutant were influenced by the diurnal patterns of the pollutant, spatial representativeness of the metrics, and correlation between each metric and copollutant concentrations. Overall, the use of metrics based on the US National Ambient Air Quality Standards (for example, the use of a daily 8-h maximum O? as opposed to a 24-h average metric) was supported by this analysis. Comparative analysis of temporal metrics also provided insight into underlying relationships between specific air pollutants and respiratory health.

SUBMITTER: Darrow LA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3743225 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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