Urban air pollution and mortality in a cohort of Norwegian men

Environ Health Perspect. 2004 Apr;112(5):610-5. doi: 10.1289/ehp.6684.


We investigated the association between total and cause-specific mortality and individual measures of long-term air pollution exposure in a cohort of Norwegian men followed from 1972-1973 through 1998. Data from a follow-up study on cardiovascular risk factors among 16,209 men 40-49 years of age living in Oslo, Norway, in 1972-1973 were linked with data from the Norwegian Death Register and with estimates of average yearly air pollution levels at the participants' home addresses from 1974 to 1998. Cox proportional-hazards regression was used to estimate associations between exposure and total and cause-specific mortality. During the follow-up time 4,227 men died from a disease corresponding to an ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases, Revision 9) code < 800. Controlling for a number of potential confounders, the adjusted risk ratio for dying was 1.08 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-1.11] for a 10- microg/m3 increase in average exposure to nitrogen oxides (NOx) at the home address from 1974 through 1978. Corresponding adjusted risk ratios for dying from a respiratory disease other than lung cancer were 1.16 (95% CI, 1.06-1.26); from lung cancer, 1.11 (95% CI, 1.03-1.19); from ischemic heart diseases, 1.08 (95% CI, 1.03-1.12); and from cerebrovascular diseases, 1.04 (95% CI, 0.94-1.15). The findings indicate that urban air pollution may increase the risk of dying. The effect seemed to be strongest for deaths from respiratory diseases other than lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Nitrogen Oxides / analysis
  • Norway
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis
  • Urban Health


  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Sulfur Dioxide