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Relationships between greenness and low birth weight: Investigating the interaction and mediation effects of air pollution.

Laurent, Olivier, Benmarhnia, Tarik, Milesi, Cristina, Hu, Jianlin, Kleeman, Michael J., Cockburn, Myles, Wu, Jun
Environmental research 2019 v.175 pp. 124-132
air pollutants, air pollution, confidence interval, environmental exposure, hospitals, low birth weight, normalized difference vegetation index, particulates, relative risk, risk reduction, California
Associations between residential greenness and improved birth weight have been increasingly reported, but underlying mechanisms and interactions with other environmental exposures are still unclear.To study the relationships between low birth weight (LBW, <2500 g), residential greenness, and the potential influence of air pollution in these relationships (interaction and mediation) in California, over the period 2001–2008.Residential greenness around maternal homes was characterized using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Complementary indicators of air pollution exposure reflected its main components. Birth weight and maternal characteristics were obtained from birth certificate records. In this case-cohort study, associations between greenness and LBW were investigated using multi-level Poisson regression with random effect at the hospital level. We investigated potential interaction of greenness and air pollutants on both additive and multiplicative scales. Mediation analyses were conducted to estimate the potential contribution of local variations in air pollutant concentrations associated with greenness on LBW risk.In total 72,632 LBW cases were included. A reduction of LBW risk was associated with an increase in NDVI (adjusted risk ratio per inter-quartile range in NDVI: 0.963; 95% confidence interval: 0.947; 0.978). We observed no interaction between NDVI and air pollution on LBW risk. The estimated mediating effect of fine particulate matter in the impact of greenness on LBW was 12%.This large study confirms that residential greenness is associated with a reduced risk of LBW and suggests that greenness might benefit to LBW partly through a local reduction in air pollution.