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Short-term Effects of Air Pollution on Pulse Pressure Among Nonsmoking Adults

Chen, Szu-Yinga,b; Su, Ta-Chenc; Lin, Yu-Lunb; Chan, Chang-Chuanb

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3182452f1d
Air Pollution

Background: Previous studies on the effects of acute air pollution have focused primarily on blood pressure (BP).

Methods: Our study enrolled 9238 nonsmoking adults over 30 years of age from 6 townships in Taiwan: 1 seaport, 1 urban, 1 industrial, and 3 rural. Using generalized additive models, we evaluated the associations between brachial BP and short-term exposure to 5 air pollutants: particulate matter with diameter <10 μm (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3).

Results: After adjusting for individual and meteorologic factors, the systolic BP was decreased by all 5 pollutants, whereas the diastolic BP was increased by SO2, NO2, and O3. The pulse pressure was consistently decreased by all 5 pollutants, with changes of −1.5 (95% confidence interval = −2.0 to −1.1), −0.6 (−0.9 to −0.4), −2.4 (−3.0 to −1.8), −1.2 (−1.6 to −0.9), and −1.4 (−1.8 to −0.9) mm Hg for interquartile range increases in 3-day lagged PM10, SO2, NO2, carbon monoxide, and O3, respectively. PM10 exposure was more strongly associated with reduction of pulse pressure among men, persons >60 years of age, those with hypertension, and those living in the industrial township.

Conclusions: Short-term exposure to air pollution reduces pulse pressure. PM10 in industrial emissions may contribute to pulse pressure changes. Age, sex, and hypertensive status may modify the effects of PM10 on pulse pressure.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the aDivision of Surgical Intensive Care, Department of Critical Care Medicine, E-Da Hospital, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; bInstitute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan; and cDivision of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Submitted 7 March 2011; accepted 25 October 2011; posted online 17 January 2012.

Supported by grants from the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC 96-2314-B-002-003 and NSC 97-2923-I-002-001-MY4). The authors reported no other financial interests related to this research.

Supplemental digital content is available through direct URL citations in the HTML and PDF versions of this article ( This content is not peer-reviewed or copy-edited; it is the sole responsibility of the author.

Correspondence: Chang-Chuan Chan, Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Rm.722, No. 17, Xu-Zhou Rd., Taipei, 10020 Taiwan. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.