Environ Res. 2018 Oct;166:595-601. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.042. Epub 2018 Jun 30.
Air pollution has been linked to adverse cardiovascular outcomes; however, susceptibility may vary by population. Puerto Rican adults living in the US may be a susceptible group due to a high rate of adverse cardiovascular events. We evaluated the effect of changes in ambient particle number concentration (PNC, a measure of ultrafine particles) and effects on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (BPRHS), a longitudinal cohort (n = 1499). Ambient PNC was measured at a fixed site between 2004 and 2013 and daily mean concentrations were used to construct PNC metrics, including lags of 0, 1 and 2 days and moving averages (MAs) of 3, 7 and 28 days. We examined the association of each metric with C-reactive protein (CRP) and blood pressure. Each model included subject-specific random intercepts to account for multiple measurements. An interquartile range (IQR) increase in PNC was associated with CRP for all metrics, notably a 3-day increase in PNC was associated with a 7.1% (95% CI: 2.0%, 12.2%) increase in CRP. Significant associations with CRP were seen in women, but not men; with current and former (but not non-) smokers; participants younger (but not older) than 65 y; those without diabetes (but not with), and those with (but not without), hypertension. Our study extends knowledge about the health effects of air pollution to a vulnerable population that has been understudied.