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Establishing an optimal indicator to communicate health risks of multiple air pollutants to public is much important. The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) has been developed in many countries as a communication tool of multiple air pollutants related health risks. However, the current AQHI is based on the sum of the excess health risks which are typically derived from the single-pollutant statistical models. Such a strategy may overestimate the joint effect of multiple pollutants. We proposed an improved strategy to construct the AQHI based on a Bayesian multipollutant weighted model. Using this strategy, two improved indices - Bayesian multipollutant AQHI (BMP-AQHI) and Bayesian multipollutant AQHI with seasonal specificity (SBMP-AQHI) were calculated to present the multiple pollutants related health risks to the cardiovascular system based on data collected in Chengdu, China during 2013 to 2018. The two improved indices were compared to current Air Quality Index (AQI) and AQHI to evaluate the effectiveness of the improved indices in characterizing multipollutant health risks. The AQI risk classification suggested much smaller health risks than AQHIs. Among three AQHI types, the BMP-AQHI and SBMP-AQHI suggested slightly lower health risks to the cardiovascular system than the current AQHI. In the evaluation analysis, the SBMP-AQHI had the strongest association with the mortality of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (2.66%; 95%CI, 1.57%, 3.76%). In the subgroup analysis, an interquartile increase (IQR) of the SBMP-AQHI was associated with 3.21% (95%CI, 2.06%, 4.38%), 1.34% (95%CI, -0.13%, 2.82%), and 4.20% (95%CI, 2.59%, 5.84%) increases for CVD mortality in the elderly, male, and female subgroups, respectively. The study shows that the improved AQHIs can communicate the health information of multiple air pollutants more efficiently. The study also indicates the necessity to consider seasonal specificity in the construction of the AQHI.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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