Lung Cancer Risk in Females Due to Exposures to PM2.5 in Taiwan

P-H Chiang1, 2, 3, Chao W. Chen*, 4, Dennis P.H. Hsieh5, Ta-Chien Chan6, Hung-Che Chiang7, Chi-Pang Wen1
1 Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan
2 Department of Health Risk Management, College of Management, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
3 Institute of Biomedical Informatics, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
4 National Center of Environmental Assessment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., USA
5 Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis, California, USA
6 Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
7 National Environmental Health Center, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan

© 2014Chiang et al..

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the National Center of Environmental Assessment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. ,USA; Tel: 703-347-0413; Fax: 703-347-8690;E-mail:


Effects of exposures to the PM2.5 in ambient air have increasingly attracted attention of health communities and government regulatory agencies as it has been implicated with a growing list of adverse health effects, including cardiopulmonary issues, premature death and lung cancer. However, the rates of adverse health effects and long term exposure to PM2.5 in different populations have not been well quantified due to the lack of data. In this article, 25,427 daily PM2.5 concentrations collected from the 73 air monitoring stations throughout Taiwan are extrapolated to 290 townships by Kriging method using GIS data. These townships are then stratified into 5 levels (in μg/m3) of PM2.5: 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40 and above. Data on female lung cancer mortality taken from national statistics and the estimated PM2.5 concentrations, considered as an exposure biomarker are combined to assess the effect of PM2.5 on lung cancer. The average annual PM2.5 concentration in Taiwan is 35.6±0.4 μg/m3. It is estimated that lung cancer mortality has a mean increase of 16% (6%-25%) for each 10 μg/m3 increment of PM2.5 concentration and one out of 9 female lung cancer deaths (11%) in Taiwan is attributed to the PM2.5 exposures. This assessment is conducted using the commonly accepted principle of making the best use of available data for the stated objective. The limitations of data and the resultant conclusion are carefully articulated and discussed to advance further research.

Keywords: Disease burden, females, Kriging, lung cancer, PM2.5, relative risk.