Air pollution and mortality in Madrid, Spain: a time-series analysis

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1998 Nov;71(8):543-9. doi: 10.1007/s004200050321.


Objective: To assess the relationship, if any, between air pollutant (sulfur dioxide and total suspended particulate) levels and mortality in the city of Madrid during the period 1986-1992, controlling for weather, season, and influenza epidemics.

Methods: Daily death counts were obtained from the Regional Mortality Registry. Pollution data were supplied by the Municipal Monitoring Network. Time-series analysis methodology was used to assess the link between non-accidental as well as circulatory- and respiratory-disease mortality, on the one hand, and mean daily concentrations of SO2 and total suspended particulate (TSP), on the other. Multivariate autoregressive integrated moving-average (ARIMA) models were used to adjust for season, temperature, relative humidity, and influenza. A sensitivity analysis was run to assess the robustness of the estimators.

Results: Graphical analysis revealed a linear relationship between mortality and TSP. The relationship was logarithmic in the case of SO2. TSP lagged 1 day and SO2 lagged 3 days with an independent effect on mortality. This relationship was produced without the detection of a minimal threshold in emission values.

Conclusions: These results support the hypothesis of an association between pollution levels and mortality between 1986-1992 in Madrid. Additional measures designed to reduce pollution levels without compromising thermal comfort should be implemented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality*
  • Space-Time Clustering
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Sulfur Dioxide