Objectives: This study examined the effects of outdoor air pollutants on daily hospital admissions in Sydney, Australia.
Methods: A time-series analysis of counts of daily hospital admissions and outdoor air pollutants (1990 to 1994) was performed, by means of Poisson regression that allowed for overdispersion and autocorrelation.
Results: An increase in daily maximum 1-hour concentration of nitrogen dioxide from the 10th to the 90th percentile was associated with an increase of 5.29% (95% confidence interval = 1.07, 9.68) in childhood asthma admissions and 4.60%(-0.17,9.61) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) admissions. A similar increase in daily maximum 1-hour particulate concentration was associated with an increase of 3.01% (-0.38, 6.52) in COPD admissions. An increase from the 10th to the 90th percentile in daily maximum 1-hour nitrogen dioxide, daily maximum 1-hour ozone, and daily mean particulate was associated with an increase in heart disease admissions among those 65 years and older of 6.71% (4.25, 9.23), 2.45% (-0.37, 5.35), and 2.82% (0.90, 4.77), respectively. Heart disease and childhood asthma were primarily associated with nitrogen dioxide; COPD was associated with both nitrogen dioxide and particulates.
Conclusions: Current levels of air pollution in Sydney are associated with increased hospitalization for respiratory and heart disease.