Environ Res. 2023 Oct 24:117491. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.117491. Online ahead of print.
Seasonal variations in cardiorespiratory diseases may be influenced by air pollution and meteorological factors. This work aims to highlight the relevance of a complete seasonal characterization of pollutant-meteorological factors and cardio-respiratory mortality in Portugal and the relationships between health outcomes and environmental risk factors. To this end, air pollution and meteorological variables along with health outcomes were analyzed at national level and on a monthly basis for the period 2011-2020. It was found that cardiorespiratory mortality rates during winter were 44% higher than during the summer. Furthermore, particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters of 10 and 2.5 μm (μm) or smaller (PM10 and PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) showed a seasonal variability, with the highest concentrations during winter while ozone (O3) presented higher concentrations during spring and summer. PM10, PM2.5 and NO2, showed a positive correlation between seasons, indicating similar patterns of behavior. Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) applied to pollutant-meteorological and cardiorespiratory mortality data indicates a strong linear correlation between pollutant-meteorological factors and health outcomes. The first canonical correlation was 0.889, and the second was 0.545, both statistically significant (p-value < 0.001). The CCA results suggest that there is a strong association between near-surface temperature, relative humidity, PM10, PM2.5, CO and NO2 and health outcomes. The results of this study provide important information of the seasonal variability of air pollutants and meteorological factors in Portugal and their associations with cardiorespiratory mortality.