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Ambient particulate matter, landscape fire smoke, and emergency ambulance dispatches in Sydney, Australia


Salimi, F and Henderson, SB and Morgan, GG and Jalaludin, B and Johnston, FH, Ambient particulate matter, landscape fire smoke, and emergency ambulance dispatches in Sydney, Australia, Environment International, 99 pp. 208-212. ISSN 0160-4120 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2016 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envint.2016.11.018


Background: Emergency ambulance dispatches (EAD) are a novel outcome for evaluating the public health impacts of air pollution. We assessed the relationships between ambient particulate matter (PM) from all sources, PM from landscape fire smoke (LFS), and EADs likely to be associated with cardiorespiratory problems in the Sydney greater metropolitan region for an 11-year period from 2004 to 2015.

Methods: EAD codes are assigned at the time of the call to emergency services using standard computer assisted algorithms. We assessed EADs coded as: breathing problems, chest pain, stroke or cerebrovascular accident (stroke), cardiac or respiratory arrest and death (arrest), and heart or defibrillator problems (other heart problems). Using a daily times series study design with a generalized linear Poisson regression model we quantified the association between EAD and daily PM2.5 from all sources (PM2.5,all) and PM2.5 primarily due to LFS (PM2.5,LFS).

Results: Increases of 10μgm-3 in PM2.5,all were positively associated with same day EAD for breathing problems (RR=1.03, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.04), arrest (RR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.06), and chest pain (RR = 1.01 CI 1.00 to 1.02) but not with other outcomes. Increases of 10μgm-3 PM2.5,LFS were also positively associated with breathing problems on the same day (RR = 1.04, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.05) and other heart problems at lag of two days (RR = 1.05, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.09).

Conclusions: Emergency dispatches for breathing problems are associated with PM2.5,all and PM2.5,LFS and provide a sensitive end point for continued research and surveillance activities investigating the impacts of daily fluctuations in ambient PM2.5.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:emergency ambulance dispatches, landscape fire smoke, particulate matter
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Pollution and contamination
Research Field:Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Salimi, F (Dr Farhad Salimi)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:117597
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2017-06-20
Last Modified:2018-06-05

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