Effects of particulate matter on daily mortality in 13 Japanese cities

J Epidemiol. 2003 Nov;13(6):314-22. doi: 10.2188/jea.13.314.


Background: In recent years, numerous reports demonstrating the relationship between an increase in the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and daily mortality have been released in the United States and Europe. There have been few studies that clearly characterize the short-term effects of particulate matter on the mortality in Japan. We conducted data analysis to investigate the short-term effects of suspended particulate matter (SPM) on mortality in Japan.

Methods: In this study, we used data sets from the 13 largest cities containing data on the daily mortality of residents aged 65 years or older, concentrations of air pollutants including SPM, temperature, and humidity. Risk ratios for mortality resulting from respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and all causes other than accidents, from 1990 through 1994, were summarized using a generalized additive model (GAM) and a meta-analysis of random effect model.

Results: The risk ratios for an increase of 10 microg/m3 in SPM concentrations adjusted for SO2, NO2, CO, Ox, temperature, and humidity were 1.0077 for all causes of mortality, 1.0109 for respiratory diseases, and 1.0091 for cardiovascular diseases, and the lower limits of the 95% confidence intervals for the risk ratios were greater than one for all cases. With regards to the effects of time lag, risk ratios were higher for the SPM concentrations on the day when the mortality was recorded, and the preceding day.

Conclusions: These results suggest a positive relationship between SPM concentrations and daily mortality in Japan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Nitrogen Oxides / analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Particle Size
  • Regression, Psychology
  • Risk
  • Survival Rate
  • Weather


  • Nitrogen Oxides