Association of long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants with blood lipids in Chinese adults: The China Multi-Ethnic Cohort study

Lei Wang, Gongbo Chen, Yongyue Pan, Jingjie Xia, Liling Chen, Xiaoqing Zhang, Yangzong Silang, Jiayi Chen, Huan Xu, Chunmei Zeng, Jing Wei, Shanshan Li, Yuming Guo, Shujuan Yang, Feng Hong, Xing Zhao, on behalf of the China Multi-Ethnic Cohort (CMEC) collaborative group

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Background: Dyslipidemia is a crucial risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Previous studies have suggested that air pollution is associated with blood lipids. However, little evidence exists in low- and middle-income regions. We aimed to investigate the association between air pollution and blood lipids in southwestern China. Methods: We included 67,305 participants aged 30–79 years from the baseline data of the China Multi-Ethnic Cohort (CMEC) study. Three-year average concentrations of particles with diameters ≤1 μm (PM1), particles with diameters ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), particles with diameters ≤ 10 μm (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) were estimated using satellite-based spatiotemporal models. Individual serum lipids, including cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), were measured. Linear, logistic, and quantile regression models were used to evaluate the association between ambient air pollution and blood lipids. Results: All five air pollutants in our study were associated with lipid levels. Increased air pollution exposure was associated with a high risk of dyslipidemia. Each 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with 0.92% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.64%, 1.20%), 2.23% (95% CI: 1.44%, 3.02%), and 3.04% (95% CI: 2.61%, 3.47%) increases in TC, TG, and LDL-C levels, respectively, and a 2.03% (95% CI: 1.69%, 2.37%) decrease in HDL-C levels, and high risks of dyslipidemia (OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.18). Stronger associations of air pollution with blood lipids were found in participants with high lipid levels than in those with low lipid levels. Conclusion: Long-term exposure to air pollutants was associated with blood lipid levels and the risk of dyslipidemia. People with high lipid levels were more susceptible to air pollution. Therefore, air pollution prevention and control may help reduce the incidence of dyslipidemia and the burden of CVDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111174
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Ambient air pollution
  • Blood lipids
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Long-term

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