Long-term exposure to ambient ozone and mortality in a population-based cohort of South Korea: Considering for an alternative exposure time metric

Garam Byun, Yongsoo Choi, Sera Kim, Jong Tae Lee

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on the health effects of long-term ozone exposure remain limited with mixed results. One potential source of this inconsistency is the difference in exposure time metrics. This study aimed to investigate the association between long-term exposure to ambient ozone and mortality in South Korea, using different exposure metrics. We also examined whether heterogeneity between previous studies was due to the different exposure metrics. The study population comprised 179,806 participants from the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (2002–2015) residing in seven major cities in South Korea. Several ozone exposure metrics (year-round 24-h, year-round 8-h, warm-season 24-h, and warm-season 8-h) were calculated. Time-varying Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the association between ozone and all-cause and cause-specific mortalities. Random-effect meta-analysis and meta-regression analysis were performed to pool the effect estimates of previous studies and examine whether the exposure metric can explain the between-study heterogeneity. The hazard ratios (HRs) per 10 ppb increment in year-round 24-h ozone for all-cause (HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.07–1.29) and circulatory (HR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.25–1.84) mortality were higher than those of the other metrics. Year-round 8-h ozone exhibited the largest association with respiratory mortality (HR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.04–1.96). A meta-analysis of 29 previous studies and the present study showed the largest HR for all-cause mortality from studies using year-round 8-h exposure (HR, 1.014; 95% CI, 0.994–1.033). The exposure metric was significantly associated with effect estimates in the multivariable meta-regression model. In conclusion, in the population-based cohort in South Korea, we found positive associations between several long-term ozone exposure metrics and mortality. The different ozone exposure metrics exhibited heterogeneous effect estimates. A year-round 24-h average ozone metric also could be considered an alternative long-term standard for ozone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120300
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government ( MSIT ) (No. 2022R1A2C1006661 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Cohort study
  • Long-term exposure
  • Meta-analysis
  • Mortality
  • Ozone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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