Prenatal exposure to particulate air pollution and gestational age at delivery in Massachusetts neonates 2001-2015: A perspective of causal modeling and health disparities.
Environ Epidemiol. 2020 Oct ;4(5):e113. Epub 2020 Sep 14. PMID: 33154990
: There is a lack of evidence on causal effects of air pollution on gestational age (GA) at delivery.
Methods: Inverse probability weighting (IPW) quantile regression was applied to derive causal marginal population-level GA reduction for GA percentiles associated with increased ambient particulate matter with diameter<2.5μm (PM) levels at maternal residential address for each trimester and the month preceding delivery using Massachusetts birth registry 2001 to 2015. Stratified analyses were conducted for neonatal sex, maternal age/race/education, and extreme ambient temperature conditions.
Results: For neonates at 2.5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 97.5th percentiles of GA at delivery, we estimated an adjusted GA reduction of 4.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.4, 5.0), 1.9 days (1.6, 2.1), 1.2 days (1.0, 1.4), 0.82 days (0.72, 0.92), 0.74 days (0.54, 0.94), and 0.54 days (0.15, 0.93) for each 5μg/m3 increment in third trimester average PMlevels. Final gestational month average exposure yielded a similar effect with greater magnitude. Male neonates and neonates of younger (younger than 35 years) and African American mothers as well as with high/low extreme temperature exposure in third trimester were more affected. Estimates were consistently higher at lower GA percentiles, indicating preterm/early-term births being more affected. Low-exposure analyses yielded similar results, restricting to areas with PMlevels under US ambient annual standard of 12μg/m.
Conclusions: Prenatal exposure to PMin late pregnancy reduced GA at delivery among Massachusetts neonates, especially among preterm/early-term births, male neonates, and neonates of younger and African American mothers. Exposure to extremely high/low temperature amplifies the effect of PMon GA.