Although dust storms have been associated with adverse health outcomes, studies on the burden of dust storms on deaths are limited. As global warming has induced significant climate changes in recent decades, which have accelerated desertification worldwide, it is necessary to evaluate the burden of dust storm-induced premature mortality using a critical measure of disease burden, such as the years of life lost (YLL). The YLL attributable to dust storms have not been examined to date. This study investigated the association between Asian dust storms (ADS) and the YLL in Seoul, South Korea, during 2002–2013. We conducted a time-series study using a generalized additive model assuming a Gaussian distribution and applied a distributed lag model with a maximum lag of 5 days to investigate the delayed and cumulative effects of ADS on the YLL. We also conducted stratified analyses using the cause of death (respiratory and cardiovascular diseases) and sociodemographic status (sex, age, education level, occupation, and marital status). During the study period, 108 ADS events occurred, and the average daily YLL was 1511 years due to non-accidental causes. The cumulative ADS exposure over the 6-day lag period was associated with a significant increase of 104.7 (95% CI, 31.0–178.5 years) and 34.4 years (4.0–64.7 years) in the YLL due to non-accidental causes and cardiovascular mortality, respectively. Sociodemographic analyses revealed associations between ADS exposure and the YLL in males, both <65 and ≥ 65 years old, those with middle-level education, and the unemployed, unmarried, and widowed (26.5–83.8 years). This study provides new evidence suggesting that exposure to dust storms significantly increases the YLL. Our findings suggest that dust storms are a critical environmental risk affecting premature mortality. These results could contribute to the establishment of public health policies aimed at managing dust storm exposure and reducing premature deaths.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Soonchunhyang University Research Fund [No. 20210445 ; H Lee] and by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education , South Korea [grant number NRF-2018R1D1A1B07049034 ; H Lee].
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd
- Asian dust storms
- Distributed lag analysis
- Premature mortality
- Sociodemographic status
- Years of life lost