Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that relative risks for mortality associated with ambient particulate matter (PM) concentrations vary with location in the U.S. with larger associations in both magnitude and strength observed in the East compared to the West. Two factors potentially contributing to the regional heterogeneity in PM-mortality associations observed are regional variations in PM composition and the ability of a single PM concentration estimate to represent the community-average exposure for an entire study area, which may lead to regional differences in exposure error. Variations in PM composition and the proportion of the population living in proximity to ambient monitors, an indicator of potential exposure error, are examined for the 20 most populated and 10 mid-size study areas included in the National Morbidity, Mortality and Air Pollution Study (NMMAPS). Clear differences in PM and in the proportion of the population living in proximity to ambient monitors are found for some of these cities. Differences in these exposure parameters may be interpreted more reasonably in terms of north-south differences compared to east-west differences, and may need to be considered when conducting future epidemiologic studies that aim to examine the factors that influence the regional variability in PM-mortality associations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Regional heterogeneity