Short-term effects of particulate matter on total mortality during Saharan dust outbreaks: a case-crossover analysis in Madrid (Spain)

Sci Total Environ. 2011 Dec 15;412-413:386-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.10.027. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Background: The role of Saharan dust outbreaks on the relationship between particulate matter and daily mortality has recently been addressed in studies conducted in Southern Europe, although they have not given consistent results.

Methods: We investigated the effects of coarse (PM(10-2.5)) and fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)) in Madrid on total mortality during Saharan dust and non-dust days using a case-crossover design.

Results: During Saharan dust days, an increase of 10mg/m(3) of PM(10-2.5) raised total mortality by 2.8% compared with 0.6% during non-dust days (P-value for interaction=0.0165).

Conclusion: We found evidence of stronger adverse health effects of PM(10-2.5) during Saharan dust outbreaks effects for impacted European populations, but not for PM(2.5). Further research is needed to understand mechanisms by which Saharan dust increases risk of mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Movements
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cities / epidemiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Air Pollutants
  • Dust
  • Particulate Matter