Much attention has been paid to the health effects of ambient particulate matter pollution; the effects of gaseous air pollutants have not been well studied. Emergency ambulance calls (EACs) may provide a better indicator of the acute health effects than the widely used health indicators, such as mortality and hospital admission. We estimated the short-term associations between gaseous air pollutants [nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3)] and EACs for all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases in seven Chinese cities from 2014 to 2019. We used generalized additive models and random-effects meta-analysis to examine the city-specific and pooled associations. Stratified analyses were conducted by age, sex, and season. A total of 1,626,017 EACs were observed for all-cause EACs, including 230,537 from cardiovascular diseases, and 96,483 from respiratory diseases. Statistically significant associations were observed between NO2 and EACs for all-cause diseases, while the effects of SO2 were positive, but not statistically significant in most models. No significant relationship was found between O3 and EACs. Specifically, each 10 μg/m3 increase in the 2-day moving average concentration of NO2 was associated with a 1.07% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.40%, 1.76%], 0.76% (95% CI: 0.19%, 1.34%) and 0.06% (95% CI: -1.57%, 1.73%) increase in EACs due to all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, respectively. Stratified analysis showed a larger effect of NO2 on all-cause EACs in the cold season [excess relative risk (ERR): 0.33% (95% CI: 0.05%, 0.60%) for warm season, ERR: 0.77% (95% CI: 0.31%, 1.23%) for cold season]. Our study indicates that acute exposures to NO2 might be an important trigger of the emergent occurrence of all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and this effect should be of particular concern in the cold season. Further policy development for controlling gaseous air pollution is warranted to reduce the emergent occurrence of cardiopulmonary diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis