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Associations between fine particulate matter and mortality in the 2001 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort

Author: Lauren L. Pinault, Scott Weichenthal, Daniel L. Crouse, Michael Brauer, Anders Erickson, Aaron van Donkelaar, Randall V. Martin, Perry Hystad, Hong Chen, Philippe Finès, Jeffrey R. Brook, Michael Tjepkema, Richard T. Burnett
Year: 2017
Category: Health Publications

Read the journal article in Science Direct


Large cohort studies have been used to characterise the association between long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution with non-accidental, and cause-specific mortality. However, there has been no consensus as to the shape of the association between concentration and response.


In models stratified by age, sex, airshed, and population centre size, and adjusted for individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic variables, HR estimates for non-accidental mortality were HR = 1.18 (95% CI: 1.15–1.21) per 10 μg/m3 increase in concentration. We observed higher HRs for cardiovascular disease (HR=1.25; 95% CI: 1.19–1.31), cardio-metabolic disease (HR = 1.27; 95% CI: 1.21–1.33), ischemic heart disease (HR = 1.36; 95% CI: 1.28–1.44) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) mortality (HR = 1.24; 95% CI: 1.11–1.39) compared to HR for all non-accidental causes of death. For non-accidental, cardio-metabolic, ischemic heart disease, respiratory and COPD mortality, the shape of the concentration-response curve was supra-linear, with larger differences in relative risk for lower concentrations. For both pneumonia and lung cancer, there was some suggestion that the curves were sub-linear.


Associations between ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter and several causes of death were non-linear for each cause of death examined.