IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 4621: Putting Co-Exposures on Equal Footing: An Ecological Analysis of Same-Scale Measures of Air Pollution and Social Factors on Cardiovascular Disease in New York City (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Epidemiologic evidence consistently links urban air pollution exposures to health, even after adjustment for potential spatial confounding by socioeconomic position (SEP), given concerns that air pollution sources may be clustered in and around lower-SEP communities. SEP, however, is often measured with less spatial and temporal resolution than are air pollution exposures (i.e., census-tract socio-demographics vs. fine-scale spatio-temporal air pollution models). Although many questions remain regarding the most appropriate, meaningful scales for the measurement and evaluation of each type of exposure, we aimed to compare associations for multiple air pollutants and social factors against cardiovascular disease (CVD) event rates, with each exposure measured at equal spatial and temporal resolution. We found that, in multivariable census-tract-level models including both types of exposures, most pollutant–CVD associations were non-significant, while most social factors retained significance. Similarly, the magnitude of association was higher for an IQR-range difference in the social factors than in pollutant concentrations. We found that when offered equal spatial and temporal resolution, CVD was more strongly associated with social factors than with air pollutant exposures in census-tract-level analyses in New York City.