Global Site Navigation (use tab and down arrow)


Long-term ozone exposure and mortality in a large prospective study

Author: Michelle C. Turner, Michael Jerrett, C. Arden Pope III, Daniel Krewski, Susan M. Gapstur, W. Ryan Diver, Bernardo S. Beckerman, Julian D. Marshall, Jason Su, Daniel L. Crouse, Richard T. Burnett
Year: 2015
Category: Health Publications

Read the journal article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine


Tropospheric ozone (O3) is potentially associated with cardiovascular disease risk and premature death. Results from long-term epidemiological studies on O3 are scarce and inconclusive.


In this study, we examined associations between chronic ambient O3 exposure and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a large cohort of U.S. adults.


Cancer Prevention Study II participants were enrolled in 1982. A total of 669,046 participants were analyzed, among whom 237,201 deaths occurred through 2004. We obtained estimates of O3 concentrations at the participant’s residence from a hierarchical Bayesian space–time model. Estimates of fine particulate matter (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of up to 2.5 μm [PM2.5]) and NO2 concentrations were obtained from land use regression. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine mortality associations adjusted for individual- and ecological-level covariates.

Measurements and main results

In single-pollutant models, we observed significant positive associations between O3, PM2.5, and NO2 concentrations and all-cause and cause-specific mortality. In two-pollutant models adjusted for PM2.5, significant positive associations remained between O3 and all-cause (hazard ratio [HR] per 10 ppb, 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01–1.04), circulatory (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01–1.05), and respiratory mortality (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.08–1.16) that were unchanged with further adjustment for NO2. We also observed positive mortality associations with both PM2.5 (both near source and regional) and NO2 in multipollutant models.


Findings derived from this large-scale prospective study suggest that long-term ambient O3 contributes to risk of respiratory and circulatory mortality. Substantial health and environmental benefits may be achieved by implementing further measures aimed at controlling O3 concentrations.