Associations of daily mortality and air pollution in Los Angeles County

Environ Res. 1991 Apr;54(2):99-120. doi: 10.1016/s0013-9351(05)80094-5.


We report results of a multiple regression analysis examining associations between aggregate daily mortality counts and environmental variables in Los Angeles County, California for the period 1970 to 1979. Mortality variable included total deaths not due to accidents and violence (M), deaths due to cardiovascular causes (CV), and deaths due to respiratory causes (Resp). The environmental variables included five pollutants averaged over Los Angeles County--total oxidants (Ox), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and KM (a measure of particulate optical reflectance). Also included were three metereological variables measured at the Los Angeles International Airport--temperature (Temp), relative humidity (RH), and extinction coefficient (Bext), the latter estimated from noontime visual range. To reduce the possibility of spurious correlations arising from the shared seasonal cycles of mortality and environmental variables, seasonal cycles were removed from the data by applying a high-pass filter. Cross-correlation functions were examined to determine the lag structure of the data prior to specifying and fitting the multiple regression models relating mortality and the environmental variables. The results demonstrated significant associations of M (or CV) with Ox at lag 1, temperature, and NO2, CO, or KM. Each of the latter three variables were strongly associated with daily mortality but also were highly correlated with one another in the high-frequency band, making it impossible to uniquely estimate their separate relationships to mortality. The results of this study show that small but significant associations exist in Los Angeles County between daily mortality and three separate environmental factors: temperature, primary motor vehicle-related pollutants (e.g., CO, KM, NO2), and photochemical oxidants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Carbon Monoxide / adverse effects
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mortality*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / adverse effects
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Temperature


  • Air Pollutants
  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide