Volume 50 (2008) Issue 1 Pages 41-47
Identification of the specific pollutants contributing most to the health hazard of the air pollution mixture may have important implications for environmental and social policies. In the current study, we conducted a time-series analysis to examine the specific effects of major air pollutants [particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxides (NO2)] on daily mortality in Shanghai, China, using both single-pollutant and multiple-pollutant models. In the single-pollutant models, PM10, SO2, and NO2 were found to be associated with mortality from both all non-accidental causes and from cardiopulmonary diseases. Unlike some prior studies in North America, we found a significant effect of gaseous pollutants (SO2 and NO2) on daily mortality even after adjustment for PM10 in the multiple-pollutant models. Our findings, combined with previous Chinese studies showing a consistent, significant effect of gaseous pollutants on mortality, suggest that the role of outdoor exposure to SO2 and NO2 should be investigated further in China.