Long-term trends in the ambient PM 2.5- and O 3-related mortality burdens in the United States under emission reductions from 1990 to 2010

Zhang, Yuqiang; West, J. Jason; Mathur, Rohit; Xing, Jia; Hogrefe, Christian; Roselle, Shawn J.; Bash, Jesse O.; Pleim, Jonathan E.; Gan, Chuen-Meei; Wong, David C.

Concentrations of both fine particulate matter (inline-formulaPM2.5) and ozone (inline-formulaO3) in the United States (US) have decreased significantly since 1990, mainly because of air quality regulations. Exposure to these air pollutants is associated with premature death. Here we quantify the annual mortality burdens from inline-formulaPM2.5 and inline-formulaO3 in the US from 1990 to 2010, estimate trends and inter-annual variability, and evaluate the contributions to those trends from changes in pollutant concentrations, population, and baseline mortality rates. We use a fine-resolution (36 km) self-consistent 21-year simulation of air pollutant concentrations in the US from 1990 to 2010, a health impact function, and annual county-level population and baseline mortality rate estimates. From 1990 to 2010, the modeled population-weighted annual inline-formulaPM2.5 decreased by 39 %, and summertime (April to September) 1 h average daily maximum inline-formulaO3 decreased by 9 % from 1990 to 2010. The inline-formulaPM2.5-related mortality burden from ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and stroke steadily decreased by 54 % from 123 700 deaths yearinline-formula−1 (95 % confidence interval, 70 800–178 100) in 1990 to 58 600 deaths yearinline-formula−1 (24 900–98 500) in 2010. The inline-formulaPM2.5-related mortality burden would have decreased by only 24 % from 1990 to 2010 if the inline-formulaPM2.5 concentrations had stayed at the 1990 level, due to decreases in baseline mortality rates for major diseases affected by inline-formulaPM2.5. The mortality burden associated with inline-formulaO3 from chronic respiratory disease increased by 13 % from 10 900 deaths yearinline-formula−1 (3700–17 500) in 1990 to 12 300 deaths yearinline-formula−1 (4100–19 800) in 2010, mainly caused by increases in the baseline mortality rates and population, despite decreases in inline-formulaO3 concentration. The inline-formulaO3-related mortality burden would have increased by 55 % from 1990 to 2010 if the inline-formulaO3 concentrations had stayed at the 1990 level. The detrended annual inline-formulaO3 mortality burden has larger inter-annual variability (coefficient of variation of 12 %) than the inline-formulaPM2.5-related burden (4 %), mainly from the inter-annual variation of inline-formulaO3 concentration. We conclude that air quality improvements have significantly decreased the mortality burden, avoiding roughly 35 800 (38 %) inline-formulaPM2.5-related deaths and 4600 (27 %) inline-formulaO3-related deaths in 2010, compared to the case if air quality had stayed at 1990 levels (at 2010 baseline mortality rates and population).

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Zhang, Yuqiang / West, J. Jason / Mathur, Rohit / et al: Long-term trends in the ambient PM2.5- and O3-related mortality burdens in the United States under emission reductions from 1990 to 2010. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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