Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Tuberculosis: Exploring the Optimal Exposure Assessment
Several epidemiological studies have investigated the association between particulate matter air pollution and
tuberculosis (TB), and the exposure assessments were mostly analyzed by 12- or 24-month average air pollutant
concentration. However, supporting evidence for the exposure assessment was insufficient. It may be also doubted why
unified cumulative average of months was used to assess each exposure of particulate matter with different aerodynamic
diameter. The aim of this study was to provide evidence-based exposure assessment of particulate matters. Obtained data,
which contained monthly TB incidence and particulate matter [including particulate matter less than 10 μm (PM10) and 2.5
μm (PM2.5) in aerodynamic diameter] concentration in Taipei City, were respectively collected from 2009 to 2016 and 2006
to 2016. Datasets were linked based on time-series. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to analyze the correlation
between TB incidence and cumulative average air pollutant concentration. Cumulative average of months was inspected in
the range of 1- to 36-month. TB incidence tended to be most correlated with the average concentration of PM10 and PM2.5,
respectively at 32-, and 8-month. Furthermore, the results of correlation analysis showed periodic fluctuation, which was
consistent with the seasonal concentration of particulate matters. These results indicated the exposure assessment in previous
study (12- or 24-month) was used without the appreciation of seasonality. To achieve better linear relationship, exposure
assessment of particulate matters in different aerodynamic diameter should be individually defined.
Keywords- Particulate Matter, Tuberculosis, Exposure Assessment.