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Ambient air pollution and emergency department visits in Toronto, Canada

Mieczysław Szyszkowicz, Nicholas de Angelis
Environmental science and pollution research 2021 v.28 no.22 pp. 28789-28796
air, air pollutants, air pollution, air quality, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, patients, public health, relative risk, research, urban areas, Canada
To investigate the acute impact of various air pollutants on various disease groups in the urban area of the city of Toronto, Canada. Statistical models were developed to estimate the relative risk of an emergency department visit associated with ambient air pollution concentration levels. These models were generated for 8 air pollutants (lagged from 0 to 14 days) and for 18 strata (based on sex, age group, and season). Twelve disease groups extracted from the International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision (ICD-10) were used as health classifications in the models. The qualitative results were collected in matrices composed of 18 rows (strata) and 15 columns (lags) for each air pollutant and the 12 health classifications. The matrix cells were assigned a value of 1 if the association was positively statistically significant; otherwise, they were assigned to a value of 0. The constructed matrices were totalized separately for each air pollutant. The resulting matrices show qualitative associations for grouped diseases, air pollutants, and their corresponding lagged concentrations and indicate the frequency of statistically significant positive associations. The results are presented in colour-gradient matrices with the number of associations for every combination of patient strata, pollutant, and lag in corresponding cells. The highest number of the associations was 8 (of 12 possible) obtained for the same day exposure to carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and days with elevated air quality health index (AQHI) values. For carbon monoxide, the number of the associations decreases with the increasing lags. For this air pollutant, there were almost no associations after 8 days of lag. In the case of nitrogen dioxide, the associations persist even for longer lags. The numerical values obtained from the models are provided for every pollutant. The constructed matrices are a useful tool to analyze the impact of ambient air pollution concentrations on public health.