Long-term exposure to particulate matter and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in an analysis of multiple Asian cohorts

G. S. Downward*, P. Hystad, S. Tasmin, S. K. Abe, E. Saito, M. S. Rahman, M. R. Islam, P. C. Gupta, N. Sawada, R. Malekzadeh, S. L. You, H. Ahsan, S. K. Park, M. S. Pednekar, S. Tsugane, A. Etemadi, C. J. Chen, A. Shin, Y. Chen, P. BoffettaK. S. Chia, K. Matsuo, Y. L. Qiao, N. Rothman, W. Zheng, M. Inoue, D. Kang, Q. Lan, R. C.H. Vermeulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with a significant number of deaths. Much of the evidence associating air pollution with adverse effects is from North American and Europe, partially due to incomplete data in other regions limiting location specific examinations. The aim of the current paper is to leverage satellite derived air quality data to examine the relationship between ambient particulate matter and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in Asia. Methods: Six cohorts from the Asia Cohort Consortium provided residential information for participants, recruited between 1991 and 2008, across six countries (Bangladesh, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan). Ambient particulate material (PM2·5) levels for the year of enrolment (or 1998 if enrolled earlier) were assigned utilizing satellite and sensor-based maps. Cox proportional models were used to examine the association between ambient air pollution and all-cause and cause-specific mortality (all cancer, lung cancer, cardiovascular and lung disease). Models were additionally adjusted for urbanicity (representing urban and built characteristics) and stratified by smoking status in secondary analyses. Country-specific findings were pooled via random-effects meta-analysis. Findings: More than 300,000 participants across six cohorts were included, representing more than 4-million-person years. A positive relationship was observed between a 5 µg/m (Dockery et al., 1993) increase in PM2·5 and cardiovascular mortality (HR: 1·06, 95 % CI: 0.99, 1·13). The additional adjustment for urbanicity resulted in increased associations between PM2.5 and mortality outcomes, including all-cause mortality (1·04, 95 % CI: 0·97, 1·11). Results were generally similar regardless of whether one was a current, never, or ex-smoker. Interpretation: Using satellite and remote sensing technology we showed that associations between PM2.5 and all-cause and cause-specific Hazard Ratios estimated are similar to those reported for U.S. and European cohorts. Funding: This project was supported by the Health Effects Institute. Grant number #4963-RFA/18–5. Specific funding support for individual cohorts is described in the Acknowledgements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108803
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


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