Jesse Berman, of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota, will present:
“Getting Hot Under the Collar: Does Air Pollution Exposure and Temperature Increase the Risk of Violent Behavior?”
Background: Violence is a significant public health threat leading to social harm, injuries, and mortality. While violence research typically emphasizes social and individual behavior, relationships with short-term environmental conditions are poorly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that acute air pollution and daily temperature have neurological and behavioral consequences, which may promote aggressive or impulsive reactions in people.
Methods: We applied a two-stage hierarchical time series model to estimate the change in risk of violent and non-violent criminal behavior associated with short-term air pollution and daily temperature in U.S. counties (2000-2013). We used air pollution monitoring data from the Environmental Protection Agency for ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), daily modeled weather data, and daily crime counts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We evaluated differences in risk across community characteristics by poverty, urbanicity, race, and age. We also examined non-linear exposure-response relationships between air pollution and temperature.
Results: We evaluated over 300 counties in 34 states, representing 86.1 million people and 721,674 days. We found each 10µg/m3 change in daily PM2.5 and 10ppb change in ozone is associated with a 1.17% (95% CI: 0.90, 1.43) and a 0.59% (95% CI: 0.41, 0.78) relative risk increase (RRI) for violent crime. However, we observed no risk increase for non-violent property crime due to daily PM2.5 or ozone. Our results were robust across all community types, except rural regions. Exposure-response curves indicated an increased violent crime risk at air pollution concentrations below regulatory standards. Both violent and non-violent crime risk increased with daily temperature, although risk tended to decrease during extremely hot days. When temperature was evaluated as a deviation from the daily normal, we found a strong linear association.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that short-term changes in ambient air pollution and temperature may be associated with greater risk of violent behavior, regardless of community type.
A social tea will be held at 3:00 p.m. in A434 Mayo. All are Welcome.