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International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health


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Air Pollution and Emergency Department Visits for Depression in Edmonton, Canada

Mieczysław Szyszkowicz
Published Online: 2007-10-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-007-0024-2

Air Pollution and Emergency Department Visits for Depression in Edmonton, Canada

Objective: Depression is a common cause of morbidity. Sufferers are very sensitive to many external factors. Emergency department (ED) visits for this condition can be associated with the concentration of ambient air pollutants. The study objective was to examine and assess the associations between ED visits for depression and ambient air pollution.

Design and Methods: The present study analyzed 15 556 ED visits for depression (ICD-9: 311) at Edmonton hospitals between 1992 and 2002. The data were clustered based on the triplet {year, month, day of the week}. The generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) technique was used to regress the logarithm of the clustered counts for ED visits for depression on the levels of air pollutants (CO, NO2, SO2, O3, PM10 and PM2.5) and the meteorological variables. The number of ED visits for depression was analyzed separately for all patients, and males and females. An analysis by season was also conducted: for the whole year (I-XII), warm season (IV-IX), and cold season (X-III).

Results: After adjusting for temperature and relative humidity, the following increments in daily depression-related ED visits could be noted: 6.9% (95% CI: 1.3, 12.9) for carbon monoxide (CO) for all patients in warm season; 7.4% (95% CI: 0.5, 14.8) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) for female patients in warm season; 4.5% (95% CI: 0.1, 9.1) for sulphur dioxide (SO2) for female patients in warm season; 6.9% (95% CI: 0.6, 13.6) for ground level ozone (O3, 1-day lagged) for female patients in warm season; 7.2% (95% CI: 2.7, 12.0) for particulate matter (PM10) for females in cold season; and 7.2% (95% CI: 2.0, 12.8) for particulate matter (PM2.5) for females in cold season.

Conclusions: The findings provide support for the hypothesis that ED visits for depression are associated with exposure to ambient air pollution.

Keywords: Air pollution; Depression; Emergency department visit; Relative humidity; Temperature

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About the article


Published Online: 2007-10-11

Published in Print: 2007-01-01


Citation Information: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, ISSN (Online) 1896-494X, ISSN (Print) 1232-1087, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-007-0024-2.

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