Short- and intermediate-term exposure to NO2 and mortality: A multi-county analysis in China

He, Mike Zhongyu; Kinney, Patrick L.; Li, Tiantian; Chen, Chen; Sun, Qinghua; Ban, Jie; Wang, Jiaonan; Liu, Siliang; Goldsmith, Jeff; Kioumourtzoglou, Marianthi-Anna

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a well-established traffic emissions tracer and has been associated with multiple adverse health outcomes. Short- and long-term exposure to NO2 has been studied and is well-documented in existing literature, but information on intermediate-term NO2 effects and mortality is lacking, despite biological plausibility. We obtained daily NO2 and mortality data from 42 counties in China from 2013 to 2015. Distributed-lag non-linear models were employed to investigate the relationship between non-accidental mortality and NO2 up to 30 days before the event, including PM2.5, temperature, relative humidity, and holidays as covariates in a random effects meta-analysis pooling county-specific estimates. We repeated the analysis for cardiovascular- and respiratory-related mortality, and explored sex-stratified associations. Per 10 μg/m3 increase in NO2, we estimated a 0.13% (95%CI: 0.03, 0.23%), 0.57% (95%CI: -0.04, 1.18%), and -0.14% (95%CI: -1.63, 1.37%) change in non-accidental mortality for same-day and previous-day NO2 (lag0-1 cumulated), in the preceding 7 days (lag0-7 cumulated), and in the preceding 30 days (lag0-30 cumulated), respectively. The strongest estimate was observed for respiratory-related mortality in the lag0-30 cumulated effect for women (3.12%; 95%CI: -1.66, 8.13%). We observed a trend of higher effect estimates of intermediate-term NO2 exposure on respiratory mortality compared to that of the short-term, although the differences were not statistically significant. Our results at longer lags for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality were sensitive to modeling choices. Future work should further investigate intermediate-term air pollution exposure given their potential biological relevance, but in larger scale settings.

Keywords: air pollution; epidemiology; intermediate-term effects; nitrogen dioxide; random-effects meta-analysis

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for He_EP_2020_Supplement.docx He_EP_2020_Supplement.docx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document 668 KB Download File

Also Published In

Environmental Pollution

More About This Work

Academic Units
Environmental Health Sciences
Published Here
June 23, 2023