The American Cancer Society study (ACS) and the Harvard Six Cities study (SCS) are the two landmark cohort studies for estimating the chronic effects of fine particulate matter PM2.5 on mortality. To date, no comparative analysis of these studies has been carried out using a different study design, study period, data, and modeling approach. In this paper, we estimate the chronic effects of PM on mortality for the period 2000-2002 by using mortality data from Medicare and \PM levels from the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network for the same counties included in the SCS and the ACS. We use a log-linear regression model which controls for individual-level risk factors (age and gender) and area-level covariates (education, income level, poverty and employment). We found that a 10 units increase in the yearly average PM2.5 is associated with 10.9% (95% CI: 9.0, 12.8) and with 20.8% (95% CI: 12.3, 30.0) increase in all-cause mortality by using Medicare data for the ACS and SCS counties. The results are similar to those reported by the original SCS and ACS indicating that fine particulate matter is still significantly associated with mortality when more recent air pollution and mortality data are used. Our findings suggest that national government based data, like the Medicare, are useful for advancing our understanding of the chronic effects of ambient air pollution on health.


Disease Modeling