Associations of London, England, daily mortality with particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and acidic aerosol pollution

Arch Environ Health. 1993 Jul-Aug;48(4):213-20. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1993.9940362.


During the extreme pollution episodes of 1952 and 1962 in London, England, excesses in daily mortality were clearly evident. In this study, we examined daily British Smoke, sulfur dioxide, acid aerosols, and weather variables for their short-term associations with daily mortality in the more typical (nonepisodic) winters of 1965-1972. Consideration of the acid aerosol data was of special interest because this chemical component has been suspected as a causal agent in past episodes. Temporal lag structures between the variables were examined after removal of long-term components from each series in order to obtain "rational" cross-correlations. Significant associations between same-day and lagged pollution variables and mortality were found. Alternative regression models with pollution and weather variables were also developed. The coefficients obtained were applied to the 1962 pollution episode to examine the continuity of the estimated slopes. The pollution-predicted deaths fit the observed deaths well, which supports the applicability of such deviation-derived coefficients to the absolute scale. These models were also employed to estimate mean excess daily deaths attributed hypothetically to air pollution. On average, mean effect ranged from 2-7% of all deaths during the nonepisodic winters in Greater London, but the 95% confidence intervals of these estimates overlapped for all model specifications examined. This estimated pollutant mixture "effect" cannot be attributed to a particular pollutant because of a lack of quantitative information on the relative downward biases caused by both analytical errors and errors in the spatial representativeness of each respective pollution index.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acids / adverse effects
  • Acids / analysis*
  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Bias
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • London / epidemiology
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Seasons
  • Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis*
  • Time Factors
  • Weather*


  • Acids
  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Sulfur Dioxide