Long-term inhalable particles and other air pollutants related to mortality in nonsmokers

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Feb;159(2):373-82. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.159.2.9806020.


Long-term ambient concentrations of inhalable particles less than 10 microm in diameter (PM10) (1973- 1992) and other air pollutants-total suspended sulfates, sulfur dioxide, ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide-were related to 1977-1992 mortality in a cohort of 6,338 nonsmoking California Seventh-day Adventists. In both sexes, PM10 showed a strong association with mortality for any mention of nonmalignant respiratory disease on the death certificate, adjusting for a wide range of potentially confounding factors, including occupational and indoor sources of air pollutants. The adjusted relative risk (RR) for this cause of death as associated with an interquartile range (IQR) difference of 43 d/yr when PM10 exceeded 100 microg/m3 was 1.18 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02, 1.36). In males, PM10 showed a strong association with lung cancer deaths-RR for an IQR was 2.38 (95% CI: 1.42, 3.97). Ozone showed an even stronger association with lung cancer mortality for males with an RR of 4.19 (95% CI: 1.81, 9.69) for the IQR difference of 551 h/yr when O3 exceeded 100 parts per billion. Sulfur dioxide showed strong associations with lung cancer mortality for both sexes. Other pollutants showed weak or no association with mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death / trends
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Ozone / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking
  • Sulfates / adverse effects
  • Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Rate / trends


  • Air Pollutants
  • Sulfates
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide