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Premature Mortality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Associated with Particulate Matter Air Pollution from the 1991 Gulf War

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The State of Kuwait oil fires and military operations associated with the 1991 Gulf War resulted in substantially increased levels of airborne particulate matter (PM) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) during 1991 and 1992. Using quantitative risk assessment methodology, this article estimates the increase in premature deaths in citizens of the KSA associated with the Gulf War-related increase in PM air pollution levels. Meta-analysis of daily time-series studies of non-accidental mortality associated with increased PM10 levels using two alternative methodologies yielded exposure-response relative risk functions of 2.7% and 3.5% per 50  g/m3 increase in PM10 concentration. Combining these exposure-response functions with estimates of the magnitude and duration of the increased PM10 exposure, the size of the exposed population and baseline mortality rates provided an estimate of approximately 1,080 to 1,370 excess non-accidental deaths of Saudi citizens during 1991-1992 associated with the Gulf War-related increase in PM levels.
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Keywords: Gulf War; Saudi Arabia; mortality; particulate matter; risk assessment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA 2: Ecology and Environment, Inc, Chicago, IL, USA 3: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology/Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Baltimore, MD, USA 4: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Baltimore, MD, USA 5: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, USA

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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