Evidence on the effects of long-term exposure to traffic pollution on health is inconsistent. In Greater London we examined associations between traffic pollution and emergency hospital admissions for cardio-respiratory diseases by applying linear and piecewise linear Poisson regression models in a small-area analysis. For both models the results for children and adults were close to unity. In the elderly, linear models found negative associations whereas piecewise models found non-linear associations characterized by positive risks in the lowest and negative risks in the highest exposure category. An increased risk was observed among those living in areas with the highest socioeconomic deprivation. Estimates were not affected by adjustment for traffic noise. The lack of convincing positive linear associations between primary traffic pollution and hospital admissions agrees with a number of other reports, but may reflect residual confounding. The relatively greater vulnerability of the most deprived populations has important implications for public health.
- Hospital admission
- Traffic pollution