Accuracy of quantification of risk using a single-pollutant Air Quality Index

Lars Perlmutt, David Stieb, Kevin Cromar

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    Abstract

    Health risks associated with short-term exposure to ambient air pollution are communicated to the public by the US EPA through the Air Quality Index (AQI), but it remains unclear whether the current regulatory-based, single-pollutant AQI fully represents the actual risks of air pollution-related illness. The objective of this study is to quantify cardiovascular hospital admissions attributable to PM 2.5 at each AQI category. Based on National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the highest AQI value among criteria pollutants (driver pollutant) is reported daily. We investigated excess cardiovascular hospital admissions attributable to fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) exposure from 2000 to 2010 in Bronx, Erie, Queens, and Suffolk counties of New York. Daily total, unscheduled cardiovascular hospital admissions (principal diagnosis) for individuals aged 20-99 years, concentration-response functions for PM 2.5, and estimated quarterly effective daily concentrations were used to calculate excess cardiovascular hospital admissions when PM 2.5 was reported as the driver pollutant and when PM 2.5 was not reported as the driver pollutant at each AQI category. A higher proportion of excess hospital admissions attributable to PM 2.5 occurred when PM 2.5 was the driver pollutant (i.e., ∼70% in Bronx County). The majority of excess hospital admissions (i.e., >90% in Bronx County) occurred when the AQI was <100 ("good" or "moderate" level of health concern) regardless of whether PM 2.5 was the driver pollutant. During the warm season (April-September), greater excess admissions in Suffolk County occurred when PM 2.5 was not the AQI driver pollutant. These results indicate that a single-pollutant index may inadequately communicate the adverse health risks associated with air pollution.

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    Pages24-32
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
    Volume27
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

    Fingerprint

    Air Pollutants
    Air
    Air quality
    Air Pollution
    Air pollution
    Health
    Health risks
    Particulate Matter
    Health Status
    Air quality standards

    Keywords

    • air pollution
    • Air Quality Index
    • cardiovascular hospital admission
    • criteria pollutants

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology
    • Toxicology
    • Pollution
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

    Cite this

    Accuracy of quantification of risk using a single-pollutant Air Quality Index. / Perlmutt, Lars; Stieb, David; Cromar, Kevin.

    In: Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, Vol. 27, No. 1, 01.01.2017, p. 24-32.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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