Association of Long-Term Near-Highway Exposure to Ultrafine Particles With Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes and Hypertension

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Apr 26;14(5):461. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14050461.


Ultrafine particle (UFP) concentrations are elevated near busy roadways, however, their effects on prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and hypertension are not well understood. To investigate these associations, data on demographics, diseases, medication use, and time of activities were collected by in-home surveys for 704 participants in three pairs of near-highway and urban background neighborhoods in and near Boston (MA, USA). Body mass index (BMI) was measured for a subset of 435 participants. Particle number concentration (PNC, a measure of UFP) was collected by mobile monitoring in each area. Intra-neighborhood spatial-temporal regression models (approximately 20 m resolution) were used to estimate hourly ambient PNC at the residences of participants. We used participant time activity information to adjust annual average residential PNC values and assign individualized time activity adjusted annual average PNC exposures (TAA-PNC). Using multivariate logistic regression models, we found an odds ratio (OR) of 1.35 (95% CI: 0.83, 2.22) of TAA-PNC with stroke and ischemic heart diseases (S/IHD), an OR of 1.14 (95% CI: 0.81, 1.62) with hypertension, and an OR of 0.71 (95% CI: 0.46, 1.10) for diabetes. A subset analysis controlling for BMI produced slightly stronger associations for S/IHD (OR = 1.61, 95% CI: 0.88, 2.92) and hypertension (OR = 1.28, 95% CI: 0.81, 2.02), and no association with diabetes (OR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.61, 1.96). Further research is needed with larger sample sizes and longitudinal follow-up.

Keywords: diabetes; hypertension; ischemic heart disease; time-activity adjusted particle number concentration; ultrafine particles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions