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Open AccessArticle

Particulate Matter and Its Impact on Mortality among Elderly Residents of Seoul, South Korea

1
Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan
2
Center for Regional Environmental Research, Regional Atmospheric Modeling Section, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan
3
Department of Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010018
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 19 December 2019 / Published: 23 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in South Korea)
Climate change, air pollution, and the rapidly aging population are important public health challenges. An understanding of air pollution impacts is imperative for preventing air-pollution-related deaths and illnesses, particularly in vulnerable subgroups such as the increasing population of older adults. To assess the effects of short-term air-pollution exposure on the elderly, we conducted a time-series analysis (1996–2015) of the associations between particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of <10 μm (PM10) and deaths among elderly residents of Seoul, South Korea, which has a rapidly aging population. We also investigated the synergistic effects of temperature and the lag structures of the effects by sex, cause of death, and season. A 10 μg/m3 rise in the 4-day moving average concentration of PM10 was associated with 0.31% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.18% to 0.44%), 0.32% (95% CI: 0.09% to 0.55%), and 0.22% (95% CI: –0.23% to 0.66%) increases in non-accidental, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortalities, respectively. We found a significant and strong synergistic effect of PM10 concentration and ambient temperature on mortality in elderly people. PM10 posed an increased risk of non-accidental or cardiovascular mortality with increasing temperature, whereas the associated risk of respiratory death was highest on very cold days. The shape and length of the lag structure varied with the cause of death, sex, and season. Results indicate that elderly people exposed to PM10 are at increased risk of premature death. In the near future, these risks are likely to increase in step with the temperature rise associated with climate change and the continued population aging. Stronger emission controls will be needed to minimize the increased health risks associated with air pollution, especially in regions with high populations of elderly individuals. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; particulate matter; health impact; elderly mortality; South Korea air pollution; particulate matter; health impact; elderly mortality; South Korea
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Kim, S.E.; Hijioka, Y.; Nagashima, T.; Kim, H. Particulate Matter and Its Impact on Mortality among Elderly Residents of Seoul, South Korea. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 18.

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