Effects of Asian dust storm events on hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Taipei, Taiwan

Inhal Toxicol. 2008 Jul;20(9):777-81. doi: 10.1080/08958370802005308.


In spring, windblown dust storms originating in the deserts of Mongolia and China make their way to Taipei city. These occurrences are known as Asian dust storm (ADS) events. These ADS events lead to enhanced PM(10) levels over that contributed by the usual local sources. The objective of this study was to assess the possible associations of PM(10) with hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Taipei, Taiwan, during the period 1996-2001. We identified 54 dust storm episodes that were classified as index days. Daily COPD admissions on the index days were compared with admissions on the comparison days. We selected 2 comparison days for each index day, 7 days before the index days and 7 days after the index days. The effects of dust storms on hospital admissions for COPD were prominent 3 days after the event (relative risk = 1.057; 95% confidence interval = 0.982-1.138). However, the association was not statistically significant. There may not have been enough power to detect associations resulting from the inadequate sample size of COPD admissions on ADS events days. However, It seems worthwhile to pay more attention to the ADS events and health in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Disasters*
  • Dust*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Dust
  • Particulate Matter