Estimating the excess mortality risk during two red alert periods in Beijing, China

Weilin Zeng, Lingling Lang, Yue Li, Lingchuan Guo, Hualiang Lin, Yonghui Zhang, Tao Liu, Jianpeng Xiao, Xing Li, Yanjun Xu, Xiaojun Xu, Lauren D. Arnold, Erik J. Nelson, Zhengmin Qian, Wenjun Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The magnitude of excess mortality risk due to exposures to heavy air pollution during the red alert periods in Beijing remains unknown. A health impact assessment tool combined with the PM2.5-mortality relationship was applied to estimate the number of excess deaths due to high air pollution exposure during two red alert periods in Beijing, China in December 2015. Daily PM2.5 concentration increased from 80.2 μg/m3 to 159.8 μg/m3 during the first red alert period and from 61.9 μg/m3 to 226 μg/m3 during the second period in 2015 when compared to daily PM2.5 concentrations during the same calendar date of 2013 and 2014. It was estimated that 26 to 42 excessive deaths (including 14 to 34 cardiovascular deaths, and four to 16 respiratory deaths) occurred during the first period, and 40 to 65 excessive deaths (22 to 53 cardiovascular deaths, and six to 13 respiratory deaths) occurred during the second period. The results show that heavy smog may have substantially increased the mortality risk in Beijing, suggesting more stringent air pollution controlling measures should be implemented to protect the public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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