Environ Res. 2023 Sep 2:117070. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.117070. Online ahead of print.
Many epidemiologic studies concerned with acute exposure to ambient PM2.5 have reported positive associations for respiratory disease hospitalization. However, few studies have investigated this relationship in Kuwait and extrapolating results from other regions may involve considerable uncertainty due to variations in concentration levels, particle sources and composition, and population characteristics. Local studies can provide evidence for strategies to reduce risks from episodic exposures to high levels of ambient PM2.5 and generating hypotheses for evaluating health risks from chronic exposures. Therefore, using speciated PM2.5 data from local samplers, we analyzed the impact of daily total and source-specific PM2.5 exposure on respiratory hospitalizations in Kuwait using a case-crossover design with conditional quasi-Poisson regression. Total and source-specific ambient PM2.5 were modeled using 0-5-day cumulative distributed lags. For total PM2.5, we observed a 0.16% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.05, 0.27%) increase in risk for respiratory hospitalization per 1 μg/m3 increase in concentration. Of the source factors assessed, dust demonstrated a statistically significant increase in risk (0.16%, 95% CI = 0.04, 0.29%), and the central estimate for regional PM2.5 was positive (0.11%) but not statistically significant (95% CI = -0.11, 0.33%). No effect was observed from traffic emissions and ‘other’ source factors. When hospitalizations were stratified by sex, nationality, and age, we found that female, Kuwaiti national, and adult groups had higher effect estimates. These results suggest that exposure to ambient PM2.5 is harmful in Kuwait and provide some evidence of differential toxicity and effect modification depending on the PM2.5 source and population affected.