The research aimed to study the effect of ambient PM2.5 and meteorological parameters on the incidence rates of COPD. The study, using the panel model, lasted for 7 years and covered eight provinces in the upper northern region of Thailand (January 2014–December 2020). The feasible general least squares (FGLS) for the heteroscedasticity were used to estimate all the parameters in the model. The study result showed that all PM2.5 and meteorological parameters contributed to an increase in COPD cases. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis (Mannino et al. 2002).
We found that the average increase of PM2.5 by 1%, would add an increased risk of COPD cases by 0.25% at a significance level of 0.10. Our study results also revealed that the average increase of temperature, humidity and hot spots by 1% would lead to the increased risk of new COPD cases by 0.42% at a significance level of 0.05. Moreover, a rise in the average of the lowest temperature in the provinces under the study by 1%, would increase the number of new cases of COPD by 0.92% at a significance level at 0.01. There were some challenges involved in investigating health impacts of PM2.5. This study demonstrated that evidence from the econometric panel data model provided valuable information for future efforts to prevent incidence of PM2.5 disease. It is recommended that a more comprehensive program is needed to reduce the exacerbation rate of COPD.