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Environ Health Perspect. 1991 August; 94: 43–50.
PMCID: PMC1567944
Research Article

Long-term ambient concentrations of total suspended particulates and oxidants as related to incidence of chronic disease in California Seventh-Day Adventists.


Cancer incidence and mortality in a cohort of 6000 nonsmoking California Seventh-Day Adventists were monitored for a 6-year period, and relationships with long-term cumulative ambient air pollution were observed. Total suspended particulates (TSP) and ozone were measured in terms of numbers of hours in excess of several threshold levels corresponding to national standards as well as mean concentration. For all malignant neoplasms among females, risk increased with increasing exceedance frequencies of all thresholds of TSP except the lowest one, and those increased risks were highly statistically significant. For respiratory cancers, increased risk was associated with only one threshold of ozone, and this result was of borderline significance. Respiratory disease symptoms were assessed in 1977 and again in 1987 using the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute respiratory symptoms questionnaire on a subcohort of 3914 individuals. Multivariate analyses which adjusted for past and passive smoking and occupational exposures indicated statistically significantly (p less than 0.05) elevated relative risks ranging up to 1.7 for incidence of asthma, definite symptoms of airway obstructive disease, and chronic bronchitis with TSP in excess of all thresholds except the lowest one but not for any thresholds of ozone. A trend association (p = 0.056) was noted between the threshold of 10 pphm ozone and incidence of asthma. These results are presented within the context of standards setting for these constituents of air pollution.

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Selected References

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