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Maternal exposure to traffic-related air pollution and birth defects in Massachusetts

Girguis, Mariam S., Strickland, Matthew J., Hu, Xuefei, Liu, Yang, Bartell, Scott M., Vieira, Verónica M.
Environmental research 2016 v.146 pp. 1-9
air pollution, confidence interval, land use, maternal exposure, models, neural tube defects, odds ratio, palate, particulates, patent ductus arteriosus, regression analysis, remote sensing, risk factors, roads, satellites, traffic, Massachusetts
Exposures to particulate matter with diameter of 2.5µm or less (PM2.5) may influence risk of birth defects. We estimated associations between maternal exposure to prenatal traffic-related air pollution and risk of cardiac, orofacial, and neural tube defects among Massachusetts births conceived 2001 through 2008. Our analyses included 2729 cardiac, 255 neural tube, and 729 orofacial defects. We used satellite remote sensing, meteorological and land use data to assess PM2.5 and traffic-related exposures (distance to roads and traffic density) at geocoded birth addresses. We calculated adjusted odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI) using logistic regression models. Generalized additive models were used to assess spatial patterns of birth defect risk. There were positive but non-significant associations for a 10µg/m³ increase in PM2.5 and perimembranous ventricular septal defects (OR=1.34, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.83), patent foramen ovale (OR=1.19, 95% CI: 0.92, 1.54) and patent ductus arteriosus (OR=1.20, 95% CI: 0.95, 1.62). There was a non-significant inverse association between PM2.5 and cleft lip with or without palate (OR=0.76, 95% CI: 0.50, 1.10), cleft palate only (OR=0.89, 95% CI: 0.54, 1.46) and neural tube defects (OR=0.77, 95% CI: 0.46, 1.05). Results for traffic related exposure were similar. Only ostium secundum atrial septal defects displayed significant spatial variation after accounting for known risk factors.