Long-term impacts of coal mine fire-emitted PM2.5 on hospitalisation: a longitudinal analysis of the Hazelwood Health Study

Rongbin Xu, Caroline X. Gao, Christina Dimitriadis, Catherine Smith, Matthew Carroll, Jillian F. Ikin, Fay Johnston, Malcolm R. Sim, Michael J. Abramson, Yuming Guo

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2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Little is known about the long-term health impacts of exposures to landscape fire smoke. We aimed to evaluate the association between exposure to coal mine fire-related particulate matter 2.5 μm or less in diameter (PM2.5) and hospitalisation in the 5 years following the 6-week Hazelwood coal mine fire in Australia in 2014. METHODS: We surveyed 2725 residents (mean age: 58.3 years; 54.3% female) from an exposed and a comparison town. Individual PM2.5 exposures during the event were estimated using modelled PM2.5 concentrations related to the coal mine fire and self-reported location data. The individual exposure and survey data were linked with hospitalisation records between January 2009 and February 2019. Recurrent event survival analysis was used to evaluate relationships between PM2.5 exposure and hospitalisation following mine fire, adjusting for important covariates. RESULTS: Each 10-µg/m3 increase in mine fire-related PM2.5 was associated with a 9% increased hazard [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 1.17] of respiratory hospitalisation over the next 5 years, with stronger associations observed for females (HR = 1.16; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.27) than males (HR = 0.99; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.11). In particular, increased hazards were observed for hospitalisations for asthma (HR = 1.43; 95% CI: 1.19, 1.73) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (HR = 1.14; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.28). No such association was found for hospitalisations for cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, injuries, type 2 diabetes, renal diseases or neoplasms. CONCLUSIONS: A 6-week exposure to coal mine fire-related PM2.5 was associated with increased hazard of respiratory hospitalisations over the following 5 years, particularly for females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Coal mine fire smoke
  • data linkage cohort
  • fine particulate matter
  • Hazelwood Health Study
  • hospital admission
  • longitudinal study

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