Objective Desert dust, which is included in course particles, is considered to have potential toxicity. The effect modification of desert dust on associations between anthropogenic air pollution and mortality has been evaluated. However, the independent effects of Asian dust are less clear. Thus, we evaluated the effects of Asian dust on mortality independent of particulate matter (PM) in western Japan.
Methods We obtained daily mean concentrations of Asian dust using Light Detection and Ranging measurements and suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentrations (approximately PM8) during March 2005 to December 2010. We then evaluated city-specific associations of Asian dust and SPM with daily mortality using a time-series analysis targeting 1 379 052 people aged 65 or above living in 47 cities. The city-specific results were then combined with a Bayesian-hierarchical model.
Results Asian dust did not modify the effects of SPM on mortality. Meanwhile, Asian dust was adversely associated with mortality independent of SPM. The excess risk following a 10 μ/m3 increase in mean of the current to the previous 2 days Asian dust concentration was 0.6% (95% CI 0.1 to 1.1) for heart disease, 0.8% (95% CI 0.1 to 1.6) for ischaemic heart disease, 2.1% (95% CI 0.3 to 3.9) for arrhythmia and 0.5% (95% CI 0.2 to 0.8) for pneumonia mortality. Furthermore, the effects of Asian dust were stronger in northern areas close to the Eurasian continent (source of Asian dust).
Conclusions Asian dust had adverse effects on circulatory and respiratory mortality independent of PM.
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