Associations between outdoor air pollution and daily mortality in Brisbane, Australia

Arch Environ Health. 1997 Nov-Dec;52(6):442-54. doi: 10.1080/00039899709602223.


The results of several studies have indicated significant associations between daily mortality and air pollution, with little evidence of a threshold. In the current study, the authors examined daily mortality during the period 1987-1993 for the Brisbane region, which is the fastest-growing urban region in Australia (annual average concentration of particulate matter less than 10 microm in diameter = 27 microg/m3, maximum hourly sulfur dioxide level = 60 ppb, and maximum daily ozone hourly level = 118 ppb). The authors conducted a general estimating equation analysis, and they used autoregressive Poisson models for daily mortality to examine associations with air pollution variables. The authors used research methods developed in the Air Pollution on Health, European Approach (APHEA), project to control confounding effects of weather and temporal trends. The air pollutants examined included particulate pollution (measured by nephelometry [bsp data]), sulfur dioxide, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. The results indicated that the associations between total daily mortality and particulate levels found in studies in the United States and other countries may be applicable in Brisbane, Australia. Ozone levels were also associated significantly with total daily mortality. There was little evidence of interaction between the ozone effects (mainly in summer) and particulates or with sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. The associations between pollutants (ozone, bsp) and daily mortality were significant only for individuals who were older than 65 y of age; positive associations were also found with cardiovascular disease categories, and the regression coefficients--when significant--were higher than those for total mortality. The results indicated a possible threshold for ozone levels, but a similar result for particulate levels was not apparent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Australia
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mortality*
  • Ozone / adverse effects
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Seasons
  • Urban Health*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Ozone