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Air pollution and mortality in Philadelphia, 1974-1988.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • J. E. Kelsall
  • J. M. Samet
  • S. L. Zeger
  • J. Xu
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/1997
<mark>Journal</mark>American Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number9
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)750-762
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Analyses involving data from many locations throughout the world have now been conducted to assess the association between air pollution and mortality. To date, six independent analyses of mortality data for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have been reported. In this new analysis of Philadelphia data for 1974–1988, Poisson regression models were developed to estimate the increased risk of daily mortality associated with air pollution while controlling for longer-term time trends and season and for weather. Model development was based on prior understanding of the effects of these factors on mortality and on consideration of model fit. The authors found moderate correlations of daily concentrations of total suspended particles (TSP), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO), and only slight correlations of ozone (O3) with other pollutants. When included individually in the model, the means of current and previous days' levels of TSP, SO2 and O3 had statistically significant effects on total mortality; pollutant increases of an interquartile range (34.5 µg/m3 12.9 ppb, and 20.2 ppb, respectively) were associated with increases in mortality of around 1% for TSP and SO2 and of around 2% for O3. The effects of TSP and SO2 were diminished when both pollutants were simultaneously included in the model, whether pairwise or in the full multi-pollutant model. These analyses confirm the association between TSP and mortality found in previous studies in Philadelphia and show that the association is robust to consideration of other pollutants in the model.