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Ji Ye Jung 1 Article
Evaluation of an air quality warning system for vulnerable and susceptible individuals in Korea: an interrupted time series analysis
YouHyun Park, Jun Hyuk Koo, Hoyeon Jeong, Ji Ye Jung, Changsoo Kim, Dae Ryong Kang
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023020.   Published online February 14, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023020
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study was conducted to elucidate the effects of an air quality warning system (AQWS) implemented in January 2015 in Korea by analyzing changes in the incidence and exacerbation rates of environmental diseases.
METHODS
Data from patients with environmental diseases were extracted from the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort database from 2010 to 2019, and data on environmental risk factors were acquired from the AirKorea database. Patient and meteorological data were linked based on residential area. An interrupted time series analysis with Poisson segmented regression was used to compare the rates before and after AQWS introduction. Adjustment variables included seasonality, air pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter less than 10 μm in diameter, and ozone), temperature, and humidity.
RESULTS
After AQWS implementation, the incidence of asthma gradually decreased by 20.5%. Cardiovascular disease and stroke incidence also significantly decreased (by 34.3 and 43.0%, respectively). However, no immediate or gradual decrease was identified in the exacerbation rate of any environmental disease after AQWS implementation. Sensitivity analyses were performed according to age, disability, and health insurance coverage type. Overall, the AQWS effectively mitigated the occurrence of most environmental diseases in Korea. However, the relationships between alarm system implementation and reduced incidence differed among diseases based on the characteristics of vulnerable and sensitive individuals.
CONCLUSIONS
Our results suggest that by tailoring the AQWS to demographic and sociological characteristics and providing enhanced education about the warning system, interventions can become an efficient policy tool to decrease air pollution-related health risks.
Summary
Korean summary
한국에서 미세먼지경보제의 시행은 환경성질환의 발생률을 점진적으로 감소시켰으나, 민감·취약계층 특징에 따라 정책 시행에 영향을 받은 환경성질환 종류는 상이하였다. 한편, 기존 환경성질환 환자의 악화(입원 또는 응급실 방문)의 경우 미세먼지경보제 시행으로 인한 영향은 파악되지 않았다.
Key Message
Air Quality Warning System (AQWS) effectively mitigated the occurrence of most environmental diseases in Korea. The relationships between alarm system implementation and reduced incidence differed among diseases based on the characteristics of vulnerable and sensitive individuals.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health