Burden of disease attributable to ambient fine particulate matter exposure in Taiwan

Wei Cheng Lo, Ruei Hao Shie, Chang Chuan Chan, Hsien Ho Lin

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Purpose There is compelling epidemiological evidence that links air pollution to increased risk of mortality from cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer. We quantified the burden of mortality attributable to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) among the Taiwanese population in 2014 at the national and subnational levels. Methods Subnational PM2.5 exposure levels were obtained from Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network. Relative risks were derived from a previously developed exposure-response model. Population attributable fraction for cause-specific mortality was estimated at the county level using the estimated ambient PM2.5 concentrations and the relative risk functions. Results In 2014, PM2.5 accounted for 6282 deaths [95% confidence interval (CI), 5716–6847], from ischemic heart disease (2244 deaths; 95% CI, 2015–2473), stroke (2140 deaths; 95% CI, 1760–2520), lung cancer (1252 deaths; 95% CI, 995–1509), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (645 deaths; 95% CI, 418–872). Nationally, the population attributable mortality fraction of PM2.5 for the four disease causes was 18.6% (95% CI, 16.9–20.3%). Substantial geographic variation in PM2.5 attributable mortality fraction was found; the percentage of deaths attributable to PM2.5 ranged from 8.7% in Hualian County to 21.8% in Yunlin County. In terms of absolute number of deaths, New Taipei and Kaohsiung cities had the largest number of deaths associated with PM2.5 (874 and 829 deaths, respectively) among all cities and counties. Conclusion Ambient PM2.5 pollution is a major mortality risk factor in Taiwan. Aggressive and multisectorial intervention strategies are urgently needed to bring down the impact of air pollution on environment and health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • ambient fine particulate matter
  • burden of disease
  • subnational analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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