CREAL: The heat and air pollution from roads increase the risk of lower birth weight

CREAL: The heat and air pollution from roads increase the risk of lower birth weight

News from CREAL

There is an increased risk of low birth weight associated with a greater proximity of the homes of pregnant women to major roads, mainly due to air pollution and exposure to heat according to a study published in Epidemiology and leaded by CREAL, an ISGlobal research center.

Maternal residential proximity to roads has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, there is no study investigating mediators or buffering effects of road-adjacent trees on this association. The study led by Payam Dadvand and Mark Niuewenhuijden, researchers at CREAL, focused on the association between mothers’ residential proximity to major roads and term low birth weight (LBW). They also explored the possible mediating roles of air pollution (PM2.5, PM2.5–10, PM10, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrogen oxides), heat, and noise and the buffering effect of road adjacent trees on this association.

“Our main conclusion is that living within 200 m of major roads was associated with a 46% increase in term LBW risk; an interquartile range increase in heat exposure with an 18% increase in term LBW risk; and third-trimester exposure to particulate air pollutants with 24-26% increase”, said Dadvand.

“Air pollution and heat exposures together explained about one-third of the association between residential proximity to major roads and term LBW. Our observations on the buffering of this association by road-adjacent trees were not consistent between our two measures of proximity to major roads”, concluded Niuewenhuijsen.

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Payam Dadvand, Bart Ostro, Francesc Figueras, Maria Foraster, Xavier Basagaña, Antònia Valentín, David Martinez, Rob Beelen, Marta Cirach, Gerard Hoek, Michael Jerrett, Bert Brunekreef, and Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen. Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Term Low Birth Weight. The Roles of Air Pollution, Heat, Noise, and Road-Adjacent Trees. Epidemiology 2014 April 29 (In press)