The Health Impacts of Co-exposure to Extreme Heat and Air Pollution

Recognizing that extremes of heat and particulate air pollution threaten human health and are becoming more frequent due to climate change, researchers at the University of Southern California set out to understand the health impacts of co-exposure to extreme heat and air pollution. Publishing their results in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers found that all-cause mortality risk increased 6.1% on extreme maximum temperature-only days and 5% on extreme PM2.5-only days versus nonextreme days. On days with exposure to both extreme maximum temperature and PM2.5, risk increased 21%. On extreme co-exposure days, the increased risks for cardiovascular and respiratory mortality were 29.9 and 38 percent, respectively, which were more than the sum of individual effects of extreme temperature and PM2.5 only. For individuals older than 75 years, the effect estimates were larger.

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