Mortality and morbidity in a population exposed to multiple sources of air pollution: A retrospective cohort study using air dispersion models

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Abstract

Background and aims: A landfill, an incinerator, and a refinery plant have been operating since the early 1960s in a contaminated site located in the suburb of Rome (Italy). To evaluate their potential health effects, a population-based retrospective cohort study was conducted using dispersion modeling for exposure assessment. Methods: A fixed cohort was enrolled in the Rome Longitudinal Study in 2001, mortality and hospitalizations were followed-up until 2010. Exposure assessments to the landfill (H2S), the incinerator (PM10), and the refinery plant (SOX) were performed for each subject using a Lagrangian dispersion model. Individual and small-area variables were available (including exposures levels to NO2 from traffic and diesel trucks). Cox regression analysis was performed (hazard ratios, HRs, 95% CI) using linear terms for the exposures (5th-95th percentiles difference). Single and bi-pollutant models were run. Results: The cohort included 85,559 individuals. The estimated annual average exposures levels were correlated. H2S from the landfill was associated with cardiovascular hospital admissions in both genders (HR 1.04 95% CI 1.00-1.09 in women); PM10 from the incinerator was associated with pancreatic cancer mortality in both genders (HR 1.40 95% CI 1.03-1.90 in men, HR 1.47 95% CI 1.12-1.93 in women) and with breast morbidity in women (HR 1.13 95% CI 1.00-1.27). SOx from the refinery was associated with laryngeal cancer mortality in women (HR 4.99 95% CI 1.64-15.9) and respiratory hospital admissions (HR 1.13 95% CI 1.01-1.27). Conclusions: We found an association of the pollution sources with some cancer forms and cardio-respiratory diseases. Although there was a high correlation between the estimated exposures, an indication of specific effects from the different sources emerged.

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Ancona, C., Badaloni, C., Mataloni, F., Bolignano, A., Bucci, S., Cesaroni, G., … Forastiere, F. (2015). Mortality and morbidity in a population exposed to multiple sources of air pollution: A retrospective cohort study using air dispersion models. Environmental Research, 137, 467–474. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2014.10.036

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