Open access
Research Article
11 February 2009

Emergency Admissions for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Diseases and the Chemical Composition of Fine Particle Air Pollution

Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 117, Issue 6
Pages 957 - 963



Population-based studies have estimated health risks of short-term exposure to fine particles using mass of PM2.5 (particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter) as the indicator. Evidence regarding the toxicity of the chemical components of the PM2.5 mixture is limited.


In this study we investigated the association between hospital admission for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and respiratory disease and the chemical components of PM2.5 in the United States.


We used a national database comprising daily data for 2000–2006 on emergency hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory outcomes, ambient levels of major PM2.5 chemical components [sulfate, nitrate, silicon, elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon matter (OCM), and sodium and ammonium ions], and weather. Using Bayesian hierarchical statistical models, we estimated the associations between daily levels of PM2.5 components and risk of hospital admissions in 119 U.S. urban communities for 12 million Medicare enrollees (≥ 65 years of age).


In multiple-pollutant models that adjust for the levels of other pollutants, an interquartile range (IQR) increase in EC was associated with a 0.80% [95% posterior interval (PI), 0.34–1.27%] increase in risk of same-day cardiovascular admissions, and an IQR increase in OCM was associated with a 1.01% (95% PI, 0.04–1.98%) increase in risk of respiratory admissions on the same day. Other components were not associated with cardiovascular or respiratory hospital admissions in multiple-pollutant models.


Ambient levels of EC and OCM, which are generated primarily from vehicle emissions, diesel, and wood burning, were associated with the largest risks of emergency hospitalization across the major chemical constituents of PM2.5.

Supplementary Material

File (0800185art_suppl.pdf)


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Information & Authors


Published In

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 117Issue 6June 2009
Pages: 957 - 963
PubMed: 19590690


Received: 12 September 2008
Accepted: 10 February 2009
Published online: 11 February 2009


  1. cardiovascular disease
  2. chemical components
  3. hospital admission
  4. particulate matter
  5. PM2.5
  6. respiratory disease
  7. Speciation Trends Network



Roger D. Peng [email protected]
Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Michelle L. Bell
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Alison S. Geyh
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Aidan McDermott
Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Scott L. Zeger
Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Jonathan M. Samet
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
Francesca Dominici
Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA


Address correspondence to R.D. Peng, Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21205 USA. Telephone: (410) 955-2468. Fax: (410) 955-0958. E-mail: [email protected]
The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

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