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Impact of air pollution on cause-specific mortality in Korea: Results from Bayesian Model Averaging and Principle Component Regression approaches

Tran, Hien, Kim, Jeongyeong, Kim, Daeun, Choi, Minyoung, Choi, Minha
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.636 pp. 1020-1031
Bayesian theory, air pollution, air quality, correlation, environmental factors, environmental management, exposure assessment, humans, issues and policy, models, mortality, particulates, pneumonia, pollutants, polymerase chain reaction, prediction, regression analysis, risk, skin diseases, uncertainty, South Korea
Health effects related to air pollution are a major global concern. Related studies based on reliable exposure assessment methods would potentially enable policy makers to propose appropriate environmental management policies. In this study, integrated Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) and Principle Component Regression (PCR) were adopted to assess the severity of air pollution impacts on mortality related to circulatory, respiratory and skin diseases in 25 districts of Seoul, South Korea for the years 2005–2015. These methods were consistent in determining the best regression models and most important pollutants related to mortality in those highly susceptible to poor air quality. Specifically, the results demonstrated that pneumonia was highly associated with air pollution, with a large determination coefficient (BMA: 0.46, PCR: 0.51) and high model's posterior probability (0.47). The most reliable prediction model for pneumonia was indicated by the lowest Bayesian Information Criterion. Among the pollutants, particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 μm or less (PM10) was associated with serious health risks on evaluation, with the highest posterior inclusion probabilities (range, 80.20 to 100.00%) and significantly positive correlation coefficients (range, 0.14 to 0.34, p < 0.05). In addition, excessive PM10 concentration (approximately 2.54 times the threshold) and a continuous increase in mortality due to respiratory diseases (approximately 1.50-fold in 10 years) were also exhibited. Overall, the results of this study suggest that currently, socio-environmental policies and international collaboration to mitigate health effects of air pollution is necessary in Seoul, Korea. Moreover, consideration of uncertainty of the regression model, which was verified in this research, will facilitate further application of this approach and enable optimal prediction of interactions between human and environmental factors.