The association between asthma emergency department visits and satellite-derived PM2.5 in Lima, Peru

Environ Res. 2021 Aug:199:111226. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111226. Epub 2021 May 4.


Background: Asthma affects millions of people worldwide. Lima, Peru is one of the most polluted cities in the Americas but has insufficient ground PM2.5 (particulate matter that are 2.5 μm or less in diameter) measurements to conduct epidemiologic studies regarding air pollution. PM2.5 estimates from a satellite-driven model have recently been made, enabling a study between asthma and PM2.5.

Objective: We conducted a daily time-series analysis to determine the association between asthma emergency department (ED) visits and estimated ambient PM2.5 levels in Lima, Peru from 2010 to 2016.

Methods: We used Poisson generalized linear models to regress aggregated counts of asthma on district-level population weighted PM2.5. Indicator variables for hospitals, districts, and day of week were included to account for spatial and temporal autocorrelation while assessing same day, previous day, day before previous and average across all 3-day exposures. We also included temperature and humidity to account for meteorology and used dichotomous percent poverty and gender variables to assess effect modification.

Results: There were 103,974 cases of asthma ED visits during the study period across 39 districts in Lima. We found a 3.7% (95% CI: 1.7%-5.8%) increase in ED visits for every interquartile range (IQR, 6.02 μg/m3) increase in PM2.5 same day exposure with no age stratification. For the 0-18 years age group, we found a 4.5% (95% CI: 2.2%-6.8%) increase in ED visits for every IQR increase in PM2.5 same day exposure. For the 19-64 years age group, we found a 6.0% (95% CI: 1.0%-11.0%) increase in ED visits for every IQR in average 3-day exposure. For the 65 years and up age group, we found a 16.0% (95% CI: 7.0%-24.0%) decrease in ED visits for every IQR increase in PM2.5 average 3-day exposure, although the number of visits in this age group was low (4,488). We found no effect modification by SES or gender.

Discussion: Results from this study provide additional literature on use of satellite-driven exposure estimates in time-series analyses and evidence for the association between PM2.5 and asthma in a low- and middle-income (LMIC) country.

Keywords: Asthma; ED visits; PM(2.5); Remote sensing; Time-series.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Asthma* / chemically induced
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Cities
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Peru / epidemiology


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter