Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Chair in Global Environmental Health



+44 (0)20 7594 0767majid.ezzati Website




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BibTex format

author = {Bennett, J and Tamura-Wicks, H and Parks, R and Burnett, RT and Pope, III CA and Bechle, MJ and Marshall, JD and Goodarz, D and Ezzati, M},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pmed.1002856},
journal = {PLoS Medicine},
title = {Particulate matter air pollution and national and county life expectancy loss in the USA: a spatiotemporal analysis},
url = {},
volume = {16},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Background Exposure to fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) is hazardous to health. Our aim was to directly estimate the health and longevity impacts of current PM2.5 concentrations, and the benefits of reductions from 1999 to 2015, nationally and at county level, for the entire contemporary population of the contiguous United States. Methods and findings We used vital registration and population data with information on sex, age, cause of death and county of residence. We used four Bayesian spatio-temporal models, with different adjustments for other determinants of mortality, to directly estimate mortality and life expectancy loss due to current PM2.5 pollution, and the benefits of reductions since 1999, nationally and by county. The covariates included in the adjusted models were per capita income; percentage of population whose family income is below the poverty threshold, who are of Black or African American race, who have graduated from high-school, who live in urban areas, and who are unemployed; cumulative smoking; and mean temperature and relative humidity. In the main model, which adjusted for these covariates and for unobserved county characteristics through the use of county random intercepts, PM2.5 pollution in excess of the lowest observed concentration (2.8 µg/m3) was responsible for an estimated 15,612 deaths (95% credible interval 13,248-17,945) in females and in 14,757 deaths (12,617-16,919) for males. These deaths would lower national life expectancy by an estimated 0.15 years (0.13-0.17) for women and 0.13 years (0.11-0.15) for men. The life expectancy loss due to PM2.5 was largest around Los Angeles and in some southern states, such as Arkansas, Oklahoma or Alabama. At any PM2.5 concentration, life expectancy loss was, on average, larger in counties with lower income than in wealthier counties. Reductions in PM2.5 since 1999 have lowered mortality in all but 14 counties where PM2.5 increased slightly. The main limitation of our study
AU - Bennett,J
AU - Tamura-Wicks,H
AU - Parks,R
AU - Burnett,RT
AU - Pope,III CA
AU - Bechle,MJ
AU - Marshall,JD
AU - Goodarz,D
AU - Ezzati,M
DO - 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002856
PY - 2019///
SN - 1549-1277
TI - Particulate matter air pollution and national and county life expectancy loss in the USA: a spatiotemporal analysis
T2 - PLoS Medicine
UR -
UR -
VL - 16
ER -