Author(s): Roberts S
In many community time series studies on the effect of particulate air pollution on mortality, particulate air pollution is modeled additively. In this study, we investigated the interaction between daily particulate air pollution and daily mean temperature in Cook County, Illinois and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, using data for the period 1987-1994. This was done through the use of joint particulate air pollution-temperature response surfaces and by stratifying the effect of particulate air pollution on mortality by temperature. Evidence that the effect of particulate air pollution on mortality may depend on temperature is found. However, the results were sensitive to the number of degrees of freedom used in the confounder adjustments, the particulate air pollution exposure measure, and how the effects of temperature on mortality are modeled. The results were less sensitive to the estimation method used--generalized linear models and natural cubic splines or generalized additive models and smoothing splines. The results of this study suggest that in community particulate air pollution mortality time series studies the possibility of an interaction between daily particulate air pollution and daily mean temperature should be considered.