Global trends in ozone concentration and attributable mortality for urban, peri-urban, and rural areas between 2000 and 2019: a modelling study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Lancet. Planetary health








BACKGROUND: Data on long-term trends of ozone exposure and attributable mortality across urban-rural catchment areas worldwide are scarce, especially for low-income and middle-income countries. This study aims to estimate trends in ozone concentrations and attributable mortality for urban-rural catchment areas worldwide. METHODS: In this modelling study, we used a health impact function to estimate ozone concentrations and ozone-attributable chronic respiratory disease mortality for urban areas worldwide, and their surrounding peri-urban, peri-rural, and rural areas. We estimated ozone-attributable respiratory health outcomes using a modified Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2019 Study approach. We evaluate long-term trends with linear regressions of annual ozone concentrations and ozone-attributable mortality against time in years, and examined the influence of each health impact function input parameter to temporal changes in ozone-attributable disease burden estimates for 12 946 cities worldwide by region, from 2000 to 2019. FINDINGS: Ozone-attributable mortality worldwide increased by 46% from 2000 (290 400 deaths [95% CI 151 800-457 600]) to 2019 (423 100 deaths [95% CI 223 200-659 400]). The fraction of global ozone-attributable mortality occurring in peri-urban areas remained unchanged from 2000 to 2019 (56%), whereas urban areas gained in their share of global ozone-attributable burden (from 35% to 37%; 54 000 more deaths). Across all cities studied, average population-weighted mean ozone concentration increased by 11% (46 parts per billion [ppb] to 51 ppb). The number of cities with concentrations above the WHO peak season ozone standard (60 μg/m) increased from 11 568 (89%) of 12 946 cities in 2000 to 12 433 (96%) cities in 2019. Percent change in ozone-attributable mortality averaged across 11 032 cities within each region from 2000 to 2019 ranged from -62% in eastern Europe to 350% in tropical Latin America. The contribution of ozone concentrations, population size, and baseline chronic respiratory disease rates to the change in ozone-attributable mortality differed regionally. INTERPRETATION: Ozone exposure is increasing worldwide, contributing to disproportionate ozone mortality in peri-urban areas and increasing ozone exposure and attributable mortality in urban areas worldwide. Reducing ozone precursor emissions in areas affecting urban and peri-urban exposure can yield substantial public health benefits. FUNDING: NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the NOAA Co-operative Agreement with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.


Environmental and Occupational Health