Long-term associations of outdoor air pollution with mortality in Great Britain.

TitleLong-term associations of outdoor air pollution with mortality in Great Britain.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsElliott P, Shaddick G, Wakefield JC, de Hoogh C, Briggs DJ
Date Published2007 Dec
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Air Pollution, Environmental Exposure, Great Britain, Humans, Lung Diseases, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Small-Area Analysis, Socioeconomic Factors, Urban Health

BACKGROUND: Recent studies have indicated long-term effects on mortality of particulate and sulphur dioxide (SO(2)) pollution, but uncertainties remain over the size of any effects, potential latency and generalisability. METHODS: A small area study was performed across electoral wards in Great Britain of mean annual black smoke (BS) and SO(2) concentrations (from 1966) and subsequent all-cause and cause-specific mortality using random effect models within a Bayesian framework adjusted for social deprivation and urban/rural classification. Different latencies and changes in associations over time were assessed. RESULTS: Significant associations were found between BS and SO(2) concentrations and mortality. The effects were stronger for respiratory illness than other causes of mortality for the most recent exposure periods (shorter latency times) and most recent mortality period (lower pollutant concentrations). In pooled analysis across four sequential 4 year mortality periods (1982-98), adjusted excess relative risk for respiratory mortality was 3.6% (95% CI 2.6% to 4.5%) per 10 microg/m(3) BS and 13.2% (95% CI 11.5% to 14.9%) per 10 ppb SO(2), and in the most recent period (1994-8) it was 19.3% (95% CI 5.1% to 35.7%) and 21.7% (95% CI 2.9% to 38.5%), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These findings add to the evidence that air pollution has long-term effects on mortality and point to continuing public health risks even at the relatively lower levels of BS and SO(2) that now occur. They therefore have importance for policies on public health protection through regulation and control of air pollution.

Alternate JournalThorax
PubMed ID17666438