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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/12111

Title: Does Air Pollution Trigger Infant Mortality in Western Europe? A Case-Crossover Study
Authors: Scheers, Hans
Mwalili, Samuel M.
FAES, Christel
Fierens, Frans
Nemery, Benoit
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES, 119(7). p. 1017-1022
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Numerous studies show associations between fine particulate air pollutants [particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <= 10 mu m (PM(10))] and mortality in adults. OBJECTIVES: We investigated short-term effects of elevated PM(10) levels on infant mortality in Flanders, Belgium, and studied whether the European Union (EU) limit value protects infants from the air pollution trigger. METHODS: In a case-crossover analysis, we estimated the risk of dying from nontraumatic causes before 1 year of age in relation to outdoor PM(10) concentrations on the day of death. We matched control days on temperature to exclude confounding by variations in daily temperature. RESULTS: During the study period (1998-2006), PM(10) concentration averaged 31.9 +/- 13.8 mu g/m(3). In the entire study population (n = 2,382), the risk of death increased by 4% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0-8%; p = 0.045] for a 10-mu g/m(3) increase in daily mean PM(10). However, this association was significant only for late neonates (2-4 weeks of age; n = 372), in whom the risk of death increased by 11% (95% CI, 1-22%; p = 0.028) per 10-mu g/m(3) increase in PM(10). In this age class, infants were 1.74 (95% CI, 1.18-2.58; p = 0.006) times more likely to die on days with a mean PM(10) above the EU limit value of 50 mu g/m(3) than on days below this cutoff. CONCLUSIONS: Even in an affluent region in Western Europe, where infant mortality is low, days with higher PM air pollution are associated with an increased risk of infant mortality. Assuming causality, the current EU limit value for PM(10), which may be exceeded on 35 days/year, does not prevent PM(10) from triggering mortality in late neonates.
Notes: [Scheers, H; Nemery, B; Nawrot, TS] Katholieke Univ Leuven, Dept Publ Hlth Occupat & Environm Med, B-3000 Louvain, Belgium [Mwalili, SM] Katholieke Univ Leuven, Dept Biostat, B-3000 Louvain, Belgium [Faes, C] Hasselt Univ, Ctr Stat, Diepenbeek, Belgium [Fierens, F] Belgian Interreg Environm Agcy, Brussels, Belgium [Nawrot, TS] Hasselt Univ, Ctr Environm Sci, Diepenbeek, Belgium
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/12111
DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002913
ISI #: 000292299300037
ISSN: 0091-6765
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2012
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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