In a newly published article in European Journal of Epidemiology, Lidia Casas, Bianca Cox, Mariska Bauwelinck, Benoit Nemery, Patrick Deboosere and Tim Steve Nawrot evaluate the association between short-term variation in air pollution and 10 years of suicide mortality in Belgium.
In addition to underlying health disorders and socio-economic or community factors, air pollution may trigger suicide mortality. This study evaluates the association between short-term variation in air pollution and 10 years of suicide mortality in Belgium. In a bidirectional time-stratified case-crossover design, 20,533 suicide deaths registered between January 1st 2002 and December 31st 2011 were matched by temperature with control days from the same month and year. We used municipality-level air pollution [particulate matter (PM10) and O3 concentrations] data and meteorology data. We applied conditional logistic regression models adjusted for duration of sunshine and day of the week to obtain odds ratios (OR) and their 95% CI for an increase of 10 lg/m3 in pollutant concentrations over different lag periods (lag 0, 0–1, 0–2, 0–3, 0–4, 0–5, and 0–6 days). Effect modification by season and age was investigated by including interaction terms. We observed significant associations of PM10 and O3 with suicide during summer (OR ranging from 1.02 to 1.07, p-values \0.05). For O3, significant associations were also observed during spring and autumn. Age significantly modified the associations with PM10, with statistically significant associations observed only among 5–14 year old children (lag 0–6: OR = 1.45; 95% CI: 1.03–2.04) and C85 years old (e.g. lag 0–4: OR = 1.17; 95% CI: 1.06–1.29). Recent increases in outdoor air pollutants such as PM10 or O3 can trigger suicide, particularly during warm periods, even at concentrations below the European thresholds. Furthermore, PM10 may have strong trigger effects among children and elderly population.
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