Background: Various factors can modify the health effects of outdoor air pollution. Prior findings about modifiers are inconsistent, and most of these studies were conducted in developed countries.
Objectives: We conducted a time-series analysis to examine the modifying effect of season, sex, age, and education on the association between outdoor air pollutants [particulate matter < 10 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM(10)), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone] and daily mortality in Shanghai, China, using 4 years of daily data (2001-2004).
Methods: Using a natural spline model to analyze the data, we examined effects of air pollution for the warm season (April-September) and cool season (October-March) separately. For total mortality, we examined the association stratified by sex and age. Stratified analysis by educational attainment was conducted for total, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality.
Results: Outdoor air pollution was associated with mortality from all causes and from cardiorespiratory diseases in Shanghai. An increase of 10 mug/m(3) in a 2-day average concentration of PM(10), SO(2), NO(2), and O(3) corresponds to increases in all-cause mortality of 0.25% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.14-0.37), 0.95% (95% CI, 0.62-1.28), 0.97% (95% CI, 0.66-1.27), and 0.31% (95% CI, 0.04-0.58), respectively. The effects of air pollutants were more evident in the cool season than in the warm season, and females and the elderly were more vulnerable to outdoor air pollution. Effects of air pollution were generally greater in residents with low educational attainment (illiterate or primary school) compared with those with high educational attainment (middle school or above).
Conclusions: Season, sex, age, and education may modify the health effects of outdoor air pollution in Shanghai. These findings provide new information about the effects of modifiers on the relationship between daily mortality and air pollution in developing countries and may have implications for local environmental and social policies.
Keywords: air pollution; modifiers; mortality; time-series studies.