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Maternal exposure to particulate air pollution and term birth weight: a multi-country evaluation of effect and heterogeneity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Payam Dadvand, Dr Svetlana Glinianaia, Professor Tanja Pless-Mulloli


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BACKGROUND: A growing body of evidence has associated maternal exposure to air pollution with adverse effects on fetal growth; however, the existing literature is inconsistent. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to quantify the association between maternal exposure to particulate air pollution and term birth weight and low birth weight (LBW) across 14 centers from 9 countries, and to explore the influence of site characteristics and exposure assessment methods on between-center heterogeneity in this association. METHODS: Using a common analytical protocol, International Collaboration on Air Pollution and Pregnancy Outcomes (ICAPPO) centers generated effect estimates for term LBW and continuous birth weight associated with PM(10) and PM(2.5) (particulate matter ≤ 10 and 2.5 µm). We used meta-analysis to combine the estimates of effect across centers (~ 3 million births) and used meta-regression to evaluate the influence of center characteristics and exposure assessment methods on between-center heterogeneity in reported effect estimates. RESULTS: In random-effects meta-analyses, term LBW was positively associated with a 10-μg/m3 increase in PM10 [odds ratio (OR) = 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.05] and PM(2.5) (OR = 1.10; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.18) exposure during the entire pregnancy, adjusted for maternal socioeconomic status. A 10-μg/m3 increase in PM(10) exposure was also negatively associated with term birth weight as a continuous outcome in the fully adjusted random-effects meta-analyses (-8.9 g; 95% CI: -13.2, -4.6 g). Meta-regressions revealed that centers with higher median PM(2.5) levels and PM(2.5):PM(10) ratios, and centers that used a temporal exposure assessment (compared with spatiotemporal), tended to report stronger associations. CONCLUSION: Maternal exposure to particulate pollution was associated with LBW at term across study populations. We detected three site characteristics and aspects of exposure assessment methodology that appeared to contribute to the variation in associations reported by centers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dadvand P, Parker J, Bell ML, Bonzini M, Brauer M, Darrow LA, Gehring U, Glinianaia SV, Gouveia N, Ha EH, Leem JH, van den Hooven EH, Jalaludin B, Jesdale BM, Lepeule J, Morello-Frosch R, Morgan GG, Pesatori AC, Pierik FH, Pless-Mulloli T, Rich DQ, Sathyanarayana S, Seo J, Slama R, Strickland M, Tamburic L, Wartenberg D, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Woodruff TJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Health Perspectives

Year: 2013

Volume: 121

Issue: 3

Pages: 267-273

Print publication date: 06/02/2013

ISSN (print): 0091-6765

ISSN (electronic): 1552-9924

Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1205575

PubMed id: 23384584


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Funder referenceFunder name
Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation
072465/Z/03/ZWellcome Trust
EP-W-05-022U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
JCI-2011-09937Juan de la Cierva fellowship
R01ES019587National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
R01ES016317National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences