Oxidative Burden Of Fine Particulate Air Pollution And Risk Of Cause-Specific Mortality In The Canadian Census Health And Environment Cohort (CanCHEC)

Scott WEICHENTHAL, McGill University, Canada
CROUSE D. 1 , PINAULT L. 2 , LAVIGNE E. 4 , EVANS G. 5 , VAN DONKELAAR A. 6 , MARTIN R. 6,7 , BURNETT R. 4 , GODRI-POLLITT K. 3

1 University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
2 Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
3 University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA
4 Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
5 University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
6 Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
7 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, USA

Purpose: Fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) is known to contribute to cardiorespiratory mortality but it is not clear how PM2.5 oxidative burden (i.e. the ability of particulate air pollution to cause oxidative stress) may influence long-term mortality risk.

Methods: We examined the relationship between PM2.5 oxidative burden and cause-specific mortality in Ontario, Canada.  Integrated PM2.5 samples were collected from 30 provincial monitoring sites between 2012-2013 and oxidative potential (% depletion/µg) was measured as the ability of filter extracts to deplete antioxidants (glutathione and ascorbate) in a synthetic respiratory tract lining fluid. PM2.5-oxidative burden measurements were assigned to cohort members by multiplying PM2.5 exposures by regional estimates of oxidative potential.  In total, this study included 193,300 people who completed the Canadian long-form census in 1991 and who lived within 5 km of a site where oxidative potential was measured. Deaths occurring between 1991 and 2009 were identified through record linkages and Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (and 95% confidence intervals) for interquartile changes in exposure adjusted for individual-level covariates.                                                                

Results: Glutathione-related oxidative burden was associated with cause-specific mortality. For lung cancer specifically, this metric was associated with a 12% (95% CI: 5.0-19) increased risk of mortality whereas a 5.0% (95% CI: 0.1, 10) increase was observed for PM2.5. Indirect adjustment for smoking and obesity decreased the lung cancer hazard ratio for glutathione-related oxidative burden but it remained significantly elevated (HR=1.073, 95% CI: 1.005, 1.146). Ascorbate-related oxidative burden was not associated with mortality.            

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that glutathione-related oxidative burden may be more strongly associated with lung cancer mortality than PM2.5 mass concentrations.