News from ISGlobal
Prenatal exposure to air pollution has been linked to various adverse effects on children’s health, including lower birth weight and respiratory and neurodevelopmental problems. However, very little is known about how air pollution affects physical growth in the first years of life. A new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has found an association between exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and delays in physical growth in the early years after birth.
The Spanish study analysed data from more than 1,700 mother-child pairs from Asturias, Gipuzkoa, Sabadell and Valencia enrolled in the birth cohort of the INMA Environment and Childhood Project. The researchers estimated the exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — two of the most common traffic-related air pollutants in cities — during the first trimester of pregnancy, using models based on levels of these pollutants measured in the study area. The evolution of the children’s body mass index (BMI) from birth to age four years was recorded. Height and weight were measured at four years of age.
The results showed that greater exposure to particulate matter during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of lower weight and body mass index at four years of age. Results for NO2 exposure were similar but did not reach statistical significance.
Fossati S, Valvi D, Martínez D, Cirach M, Estarlich M, Fernández-Somoano A, Guxens M, Iñiguez C, Irizar A, Lertxundi A, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Tamayo I, Vioque J, Tardón A, Sunyer J, Vrijheid M. Prenatal air pollution exposure and growth and cardio-metabolic risk in preschoolers. Environment International, April 2020, doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105619