Ozone, Suspended Particulates, and Daily Mortality in Mexico City
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To investigate acute, irreversible effects of exposure to ozone and other air pollutants, the authors examined daily death counts in relation to air pollution levels in Mexico City during 1990-1992. When considered singly in Poisson regression models accounting for periodic effects, the rate ratio for total mortality associated with a 100-ppb increment in 1-hour maximum ozone concentration was 1.024 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.011-1.039). Measures of average ozone concentration were somewhat more strongly related to mortality. The rate ratio was 1.024 (95% CI 0.984-1.062) per 100 ppb for sulfur dioxide and 1.050 (95% CI 1.030-1.067) per 100 micrograms/m3 for total suspended particulates. However, when all three pollutants were considered simultaneously, only total suspended particulates remained associated with mortality, indicating excess mortality of 6% per 100 micrograms/m3 (rate ratio = 1.058, 95% CI 1.033-1.083), consistent with observations in other cities in the United States and Europe. The authors found no independent effect of ozone, but it is difficult to attribute observed effects to a single pollutant in light of the complexity and variability of the mixture to which people are exposed. Nevertheless, particulate matter may be a useful indicator of the risk associated with ambient air pollution.
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