Effects of exposure to surrounding green, air pollution and traffic noise with non-accidental and cause-specific mortality in the Dutch national cohort

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Abstract

Background: Everyday people are exposed to multiple environmental factors, such as surrounding green, air pollution and traffic noise. These exposures are generally spatially correlated. Hence, when estimating associations of surrounding green, air pollution or traffic noise with health outcomes, the other exposures should be taken into account. The aim of this study was to evaluate associations of long-term residential exposure to surrounding green, air pollution and traffic noise with mortality. Methods: We followed approximately 10.5 million adults (aged ≥ 30 years) living in the Netherlands from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2018. We used Cox proportional hazard models to evaluate associations of residential surrounding green (including the average Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in buffers of 300 and 1000 m), annual average ambient air pollutant concentrations [including particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2)] and traffic noise with non-accidental and cause-specific mortality, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: In single-exposure models, surrounding green was negatively associated with all mortality outcomes, while air pollution was positively associated with all outcomes. In two-exposure models, associations of surrounding green and air pollution attenuated but remained. For respiratory mortality, in a two-exposure model with NO2 and NDVI 300 m, the HR of NO2 was 1.040 (95%CI: 1.022, 1.059) per IQR increase (8.3 µg/m3) and the HR of NDVI 300 m was 0.964 (95%CI: 0.952, 0.976) per IQR increase (0.14). Road-traffic noise was positively associated with lung cancer mortality only, also after adjustment for air pollution or surrounding green. Conclusions: Lower surrounding green and higher air pollution were associated with a higher risk of non-accidental and cause-specific mortality. Studies including only one of these correlated exposures may overestimate the associations with mortality of that exposure.

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Klompmaker, J. O., Janssen, N. A. H., Bloemsma, L. D., Marra, M., Lebret, E., Gehring, U., & Hoek, G. (2021). Effects of exposure to surrounding green, air pollution and traffic noise with non-accidental and cause-specific mortality in the Dutch national cohort. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-021-00769-0

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