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Does Particulate Air Pollution Contribute to Infant Death? A Systematic Review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Svetlana Glinianaia, Professor Judith Rankin, Dr Ruth Bell, Professor Tanja Pless-Mulloli, Denise Howel



There is now substantial evidence that both short- and long-term increases in ambient air pollution are associated with increased mortality and morbidity in adults and children. Children's health is particularly vulnerable to environmental pollution, and infant mortality is still a major contributor to childhood mortality. In this systematic review we summarize and evaluate the current level of epidemiologic evidence of an association between particulate air pollution and infant mortality. We identified relevant publications using database searches with a comprehensive list of search terms and other established search methods. We included articles in the review according to specified inclusion criteria. Fifteen studies met our inclusion criteria. Evidence of an association between particulate air pollution and infant mortality in general was inconsistent, being reported from locations with largely comparable pollution levels. There was some evidence that the strength of association with particulate matter differed by subgroups of infant mortality. It was more consistent for postneonatal mortality due to respiratory causes and sudden infant death syndrome. Differential findings for various mortality subgroups within studies suggest a stronger association of particulate air pollution with some causes of infant death. Research is needed to confirm and clarify these links, using the most appropriate methodologies for exposure assessment and control of confounders.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Glinianaia SV, Rankin J, Bell R, Pless-Mulloli T, Howel D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Health Perspectives

Year: 2004

Volume: 112

Issue: 14

Pages: 1365-1370

Print publication date: 03/06/2004

Date deposited: 18/04/2008

ISSN (print): 0091-6765

ISSN (electronic): 1552-9924

Publisher: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


DOI: 10.1289/ehp.6857

PubMed id: 15471726


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