Daily mortality in the Philadelphia metropolitan area and size-classified particulate matter

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2000 Aug;50(8):1501-13. doi: 10.1080/10473289.2000.10464185.


Time-series of daily mortality data from May 1992 to September 1995 for various portions of the seven-county Philadelphia, PA, metropolitan area were analyzed in relation to weather and a variety of ambient air quality parameters. The air quality data included measurements of size-classified PM, SO4(2-), and H+ that had been collected by the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as routine air pollution monitoring data. Because the various pollutants of interest were measured at different locations within the metropolitan area, it was necessary to test for spatial sensitivity by comparing results for different combinations of locations. Estimates are presented for single pollutants and for multiple-pollutant models, including gaseous pollutants and mutually exclusive components of PM (PM2.5 and coarse particles, SO4(2-) and non-SO4(2-) portions of total suspended particulate [TSP] and PM10), measured on the day of death and the previous day. We concluded that associations between air quality and mortality were not limited to data collected in the same part of the metropolitan area; that is, mortality for one part may be associated with air quality data from another, not necessarily neighboring, part. Significant associations were found for a wide variety of gaseous and particulate pollutants, especially for peak O3. Using joint regressions on peak O3 with various other pollutants, we found that the combined responses were insensitive to the specific other pollutant selected. We saw no systematic differences according to particle size or chemistry. In general, the associations between daily mortality and air pollution depended on the pollutant or the PM metric, the type of collection filter used, and the location of sampling. Although peak O3 seemed to exhibit the most consistent mortality responses, this finding should be confirmed by analyzing separate seasons and other time periods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Climate
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / adverse effects
  • Ozone / adverse effects
  • Particle Size
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Urban Population


  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Ozone