Emissions control programs targeting certain air pollution sources may alter PM composition, as well as the risk of adverse health outcomes associated with PM.
We examined temporal changes in the risk of emergency department (ED) visits for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and asthma associated with short-term increases in ambient PM concentrations in Los Angeles, California.
Poisson log-linear models with unconstrained distributed exposure lags were used to estimate the risk of CVD and asthma ED visits associated with short-term increases in daily PM concentrations, controlling for temporal and meteorological confounders. The models were run separately for three predefined time periods, which were selected based on the implementation of multiple emissions control programs (EARLY: 2005-2008; MIDDLE: 2009-2012; LATE: 2013-2016). Two-pollutant models with individual PM components and the remaining PM mass were also considered to assess the influence of changes in PM composition on changes in the risk of CVD and asthma ED visits associated with PM over time.
The relative risk of CVD ED visits associated with a 10 μg/m increase in 4-day PM concentration (lag 0-3) was higher in the LATE period (rate ratio = 1.020, 95% confidence interval = [1.010, 1.030]) compared to the EARLY period (1.003, [0.996, 1.010]). In contrast, for asthma, relative risk estimates were largest in the EARLY period (1.018, [1.006, 1.029]), but smaller in the following periods. Similar temporal differences in relative risk estimates for CVD and asthma were observed among different age and season groups. No single component was identified as an obvious contributor to the changing risk estimates over time, and some components exhibited different temporal patterns in risk estimates from PM total mass, such as a decreased risk of CVD ED visits associated with sulfate over time.
Temporal changes in the risk of CVD and asthma ED visits associated with short-term increases in ambient PM concentrations were observed. These changes could be related to changes in PM composition (e.g., an increasing fraction of organic carbon and a decreasing fraction of sulfate in PM). Other factors such as improvements in healthcare and differential exposure misclassification might also contribute to the changes.
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