Synthesis of environmental evidence: nitrogen dioxide epidemiology studies

J Air Waste Manage Assoc. 1992 May;42(5):662-71. doi: 10.1080/10473289.1992.10467018.


The use of meta-analysis is becoming more common in the medical literature, but it is not common in the environmental literature. Although meta-analysis cannot combine a group of poorly executed, conflicting studies to get an unequivocal answer, there are certain situations where it can be helpful. The inability of studies to produce similar results may be a function of the power of the studies rather than a reflection of their quality. The literature on the effects of nitrogen dioxide on the odds of respiratory illness in children is such an example. Three quantitative methods for the synthesis of this evidence are presented. Although the methods produce slightly different results, the conclusion from all three methods is that the increase in the odds of respiratory illness in children exposed to a long-term increase of 30 micrograms/m3 (comparable to the increase resulting from exposure to a gas stove) is about 20 percent. This estimated increase is not sensitive to the method of analysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / chemistry


  • Nitrogen Dioxide