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    Potential adverse health effects of Asian dust exposure have been reported, but systematic reviews and quantitative syntheses are lacking. We reviewed epidemiologic studies that assessed the risk of mortality, hospital admissions, and symptoms/dysfunction associated with exposure to Asian dust. We performed a systematic search of PubMed and Web of Science to identify studies that reported the association between Asian dust exposure and human health outcomes. We conducted separate meta-analyses using a random-effects model for mortality and hospital admissions for a specific health outcome and assessed pooled estimates for each lag when at least three studies were available for a specific lag. We identified 89 studies that met our inclusion criteria for the systematic review, and 21 studies were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled estimates (percentage changes) of mortality from circulatory and respiratory causes for Asian dust days vs. non-Asian dust days were 2.33% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.76, 3.93] increase at lag 0 and 3.99% (95% CI: 0.08, 8.06) increase at lag 3, respectively. The increased risk for hospital admissions for respiratory disease, asthma, and pneumonia peaked at lag 3 by 8.85% (95% CI: 0.80, 17.55), 14.55% (95% CI: 6.74, 22.94), and 8.51% (95% CI: 2.89, 14.44), respectively. Seven of 12 studies reported reduced peak expiratory flow, and 16 of 21 studies reported increased respiratory symptoms associated with Asian dust exposure. There were substantial variations between the studies in definitions of Asian dust, study designs, model specifications, and confounder controls. We found evidence of increased mortality and hospital admissions for circulatory and respiratory events. However, the number of studies included in the meta-analysis was not large and further evidences are merited to strengthen our conclusions. Standardized protocols for epidemiological studies would facilitate interstudy comparisons.


    Masahiro Hashizume, Yoonhee Kim, Chris Fook Sheng Ng, Yeonseung Chung, Lina Madaniyazi, Michelle L Bell, Yue Leon Guo, Haidong Kan, Yasushi Honda, Seung-Muk Yi, Ho Kim, Yuji Nishiwaki. Health Effects of Asian Dust: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Environmental health perspectives. 2020 Jun;128(6):66001

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    PMID: 32589456

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