Time-series analysis of air pollution and cause-specific mortality

Epidemiology. 1998 Sep;9(5):495-503.


Ten large European cities provided data on daily air pollution as well as mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular mortality. We used Poisson autoregressive models that controlled for trend, season, influenza epidemics, and meteorologic influences to assess the short-term effects of air pollution at each city. We then compared and pooled the city-specific results in a meta-analysis. The pooled relative risks of daily deaths from cardiovascular conditions were 1.02 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-1.04] for a 50 microg/m3 increment in the concentration of black smoke and 1.04 (95% CI = 1.01-1.06) for an increase in sulfur dioxide levels in western European cities. For respiratory diseases, these figures were 1.04 (95% CI = 1.02-1.07) and 1.05 (95% CI = 1.03-1.07), respectively. These associations were not found in the five central European cities. Eight-hour averages of ozone were also moderately associated with daily mortality in western European cities (relative risk = 1.02; 95% CI = 1.00-1.03 for cardiovascular conditions and relative risk = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.02-1.10 for respiratory conditions). Nitrogen dioxide did not show consistent relations with daily mortality. These results are similar to previously published data and add credence to the causal interpretation of these associations at levels of air pollution close to or lower than current European standards.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Models, Statistical
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Air Pollutants