Author(s): Ritz B, Yu F, Chapa G, Fruin S
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Abstract We evaluated the effect of air pollution exposure during pregnancy on the occurrence of preterm birth in a cohort of 97,518 neonates born in Southern California. We used measurements of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter less than 10 microm (PM10) collected at 17 air-quality-monitoring stations to create average exposure estimates for periods of pregnancy. We calculated crude and adjusted risk ratios (RRs) for premature birth by period-specific ambient pollution levels. We observed a 20\% increase in preterm birth per 50-microg increase in ambient PM10 levels averaged over 6 weeks before birth [RRcrude = 1.20; 95\% confidence interval (CI) = 1.09-1.33] and a 16\% increase when averaging over the first month of pregnancy (RRcrude = 1.16; 95\% CI = 1.06-1.26). PM10 effects showed no regional pattern. CO exposure 6 weeks before birth consistently exhibited an effect only for the inland regions (RRcrude = 1.13; 95\% CI = 1.08-1.18 per 3 parts per million), and during the first month of pregnancy, the effect was weak for all stations (RRcrude = 1.04; 95\% CI = 1.01-1.09 per 3 parts per million). Exposure to increased levels of ambient PM10 and possibly CO during pregnancy may contribute to the occurrence of preterm births in Southern California.
This article was published in Epidemiology
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology