Association between exposure to ambient air pollution and rheumatoid arthritis in adults

Jiyoung Shin, Jiyoung Lee, Jueun Lee, Eun Hee Ha

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22 Scopus citations


Environmental factors may play roles in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and some studies have shown that air pollution was associated with the development of autoimmune disease. This study was designed to investigate the effect of air pollutants on the development of adult RA. A nested case-control cohort study was performed using the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort during 2002–2014 in Korea. Air pollution data were collected from the National Ambient Air Monitoring System (NAMIS), and exposure levels were extrapolated using geographic information systems. The group with RA (n = 444) was compared with a propensity score-matched control group (n = 1776), and one-year average concentrations of air pollution were predicted at each patient’s residence. The adjusted binary logistic regression analysis showed a positive association between O3 exposure and the incidence risk of RA for the third (odds ratios (OR) = 1.45, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.08–1.96) and fourth (OR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.00–1.83) quartiles in adults over 20 years of age. The third quartile CO exposure was also associated with an increased risk of RA (OR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.16–2.12). The results of this nationwide population-based study showed that a one-year exposure to CO and O3 in adults was associated with an increased risk of RA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1227
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Air pollution
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • National Health Insurance Data
  • Ozone (O)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)


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