The possible association between exposure to air pollution and the risk for congenital malformations

Farhi, A., Boyko, V., Almagor, J. , Benenson, I., Segre, E., Rudich, Y., Stern, E. and Lerner-Geva, L. (2014) The possible association between exposure to air pollution and the risk for congenital malformations. Environmental Research, 135, pp. 173-180. (doi:10.1016/j.envres.2014.08.024) (PMID:25277865)

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Abstract

Background: Over the last decade, there is growing evidence that exposure to air pollution may be associated with increased risk for congenital malformations. Objectives: To evaluate the possible association between exposures to air pollution during pregnancy and congenital malformations among infants born following spontaneously conceived (SC) pregnancies and assisted reproductive technology (ART) pregnancies. Methods: This is an historical cohort study comprising 216,730 infants: 207,825 SC infants and 8905 ART conceived infants, during the periods 1997–2004. Air pollution data including sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter <10 µm (PM10), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone (O3) were obtained from air monitoring stations database for the study period. Using a geographic information system (GIS) and the Kriging procedure, exposure to air pollution during the first trimester and the entire pregnancy was assessed for each woman according to her residential location. Logistic regression models with generalized estimating equation (GEE) approach were used to evaluate the adjusted risk for congenital malformations. Results: In the study cohort increased concentrations of PM10 and NOx pollutants in the entire pregnancy were associated with slightly increased risk for congenital malformations: OR 1.06(95% CI, 1.01–1.11) for 10 µg/m3 increase in PM10 and OR 1.03(95% CI, 1.01–1.04) for 10 ppb increase in NOx. Specific malformations were evident in the circulatory system (for PM10 and NOx exposure) and genital organs (for NOx exposure). SO2 and O3 pollutants were not significantly associated with increased risk for congenital malformations. In the ART group higher concentrations of SO2 and O3 in entire pregnancy were associated (although not significantly) with an increased risk for congenital malformations: OR 1.06(95% CI, 0.96–1.17) for 1 ppb increase in SO2 and OR 1.15(95% CI, 0.69–1.91) for 10 ppb increase in O3. Conclusions: Exposure to higher levels of PM10 and NOx during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk for congenital malformations. Specific malformations were evident in the circulatory system and genital organs. Among ART pregnancies possible adverse association of SO2 and O3 exposure was also observed. Further studies are warranted, including more accurate exposure assessment and a larger sample size for ART pregnancies, in order to confirm these findings.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was supported by Research Grant Award no. RGA1102 from the Environment and Health Fund, Jerusalem, Israel.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Almagor, Dr Jonatan
Authors: Farhi, A., Boyko, V., Almagor, J., Benenson, I., Segre, E., Rudich, Y., Stern, E., and Lerner-Geva, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Environmental Research
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0013-9351
ISSN (Online):1096-0953
Published Online:30 September 2014

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