Highlights

•    Cohort studies link PM2.5 air pollution with excess mortality risk.
•    25+ years of re-analyses, extended analyses, many replicative analyses.
•    Evidence from many studies from North America, Europe, and Asia.
•    Meta-estimates indicate robust PM2.5-mortality associations with heterogeneity.
•    PM2.5 associated with all-cause, cardiopulmonary and lung-cancer mortality.

Abstract

Much of the key epidemiological evidence that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) contributes to increased risk of mortality comes from survival studies of cohorts of individuals. Although the first two of these studies, published in the mid-1990s, were highly controversial, much has changed in the last 25 + years. The objectives of this paper are to succinctly compile and summarize the findings of these cohort studies using meta-analytic tools and to address several of the key controversies. Independent reanalysis and substantial extended analysis of the original cohort studies have been conducted and many additional studies using a wide variety of cohorts, including cohorts constructed from public data and leveraging natural experiments have been published. Meta-analytic estimates of the mean of the distribution of effects from cohort studies that are currently available, provide substantial evidence of adverse air pollution associations with all-cause, cardiopulmonary, and lung cancer mortality.

 

Credit: Trinks’ Images

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