Differential time-lag effects of ambient PM2.5 and PM2.5-bound PAHs on asthma emergency department visits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Epidemiological studies have suggested the effects of ambient fine particles (PM2.5) on asthma, but the effects of specific components of PM2.5 on asthma remain to be explored. Here, we studied the effect of PM2.5-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on asthma acute exacerbation. The data on daily counts of emergency room visits (ERVs) were obtained from Wan Fang Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, from 2012 to 2015. The daily concentrations of PM2.5 and pollutant gases were obtained from a local air quality monitoring station. The levels of PM2.5-bound PAH were estimated by an established grid-scale model. Relative risks for ERVs as the increase in the level of ambient pollutants were calculated by using a generalized additive model of Poisson regression. In the present study, we observed statistically significant positive associations between PM2.5 and asthma ERVs for all age groups. PM2.5-bound PAH was also associated with asthma ERVs for all age groups. In the adult subgroup analysis, there was a significant association between PM2.5-bound PAH and asthma ERVs at lags 1 and 2 (RR 1.289, 95% CI 1.050–1.582 and RR 1.242, 95% CI 1.039–1.485). The impacts of air pollution on the risk of pediatric asthma ERV were found to be significant for PM2.5 at lag day 0 (RR 1.310, 95% CI 1.069–1.606). Moreover, pediatric asthma ERVs were significantly associated with the levels of PM2.5-bound PAH at lag 1 and 2 days (RR 1.576, 95% CI 1.371–1.810 and RR 1.426, 95% CI 1.265–1.607). The study provides evidence that PM2.5-bound PAHs were associated with an increased risk of asthma attacks. Our data further suggested that traffic exhaust is a primary source of PM2.5-bound PAHs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43117-43124
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Ambient fine particles
  • Asthma
  • Emergency room visits
  • PM-bound PAHs
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Traffic exhaust
  • PM2.5-bound PAHs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential time-lag effects of ambient PM2.5 and PM2.5-bound PAHs on asthma emergency department visits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this