The Office of Research and Development (ORD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), partially funded the research with L. C. Messer (Contracts EP12D000264 and EP09D000003) and also supported in part by an appointment to the Internship/Research Participation Program at Office of Research and Development (National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and EPA.
Environmental Health Perspectives
Health and environmental sciences, Mortality, Health, Environmental quality, Air quality indexes
Background: Assessing cumulative effects of the multiple environmental factors influencing mortality remains a challenging task.
Objectives: This study aimed to examine the associations between cumulative environmental quality and all-cause and leading cause-specific (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) mortality rates.
Methods: We used the overall Environmental Quality Index (EQI) and its five domain indices (air, water, land, built and sociodemographic) to represent environmental exposure. Associations between the EQI and mortality rates (CDC WONDER) for counties in the contiguous United States (n=3109) were investigated using multiple linear regression models, and random intercept, random slope hierarchical models. Urbanicity, climate and their combination were used to explore the spatial patterns in the associations.
Results: We found one standard deviation increase in the overall EQI (worse environment) was associated with a mean 3.22% (95% CI: 2.80%, 3.64%) increase in all-cause mortality, a 0.54% (-0.17%, 1.25%) increase in heart disease mortality, a 2.71% (2.21%, 3.22%) increase in cancer mortality, and a 2.25% (1.11%, 3.39%) increase in stroke mortality. Among environmental domains, the associations ranged from -1.27% (-1.70%,-0.84%) to 3.37% (2.90%, 3.84%) for all-cause mortality, -2.62% (-3.52%, -1.73%) to 4.50% (3.73,5.27%) for heart disease mortality, -0.88% (2.12%,0.36%) to 3.72% (2.38%, to 5.06%) for stroke mortality, and -0.68% (-1.19%, -0.18%) to 3.01% (2.46%, 3.56%) for cancer mortality. Air had the largest associations with all-cause, heart disease, and cancer mortality, while the sociodemographic index had the largest association with stroke mortality. Across the urbanicity gradient, no consistent trend was found. Across climate regions, the associations ranged from 2.29% (1.87%, 2.72%) to 5.30% (4.30%, 6.30%) for overall EQI and higher associations were generally found in dry area for both overall EQI and domain indices.
Conclusions: These results suggest that poor environmental quality, particularly air quality, was associated with increased mortality, and that associations vary by urbanicity and climate regions.
Jian, Yun; Messer, Lynne C.; Jagai, Jyotsna S.; Rappazzo, Kristen M.; Gray, Christine L.; Grabich, Shannon C.; and Lobdell, Danelle T., "The Associations between Environmental Quality and Mortality in the Contiguous United States, 2000-2005" (2016). OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Faculty Publications and Presentations. 27.