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Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jul;119(7):1023-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002725. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

The International Collaboration on Air Pollution and Pregnancy Outcomes: initial results.

Author information

  • 1National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, USA. jdparker@cdc.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The findings of prior studies of air pollution effects on adverse birth outcomes are difficult to synthesize because of differences in study design.

OBJECTIVES:

The International Collaboration on Air Pollution and Pregnancy Outcomes was formed to understand how differences in research methods contribute to variations in findings. We initiated a feasibility study to a) assess the ability of geographically diverse research groups to analyze their data sets using a common protocol and b) perform location-specific analyses of air pollution effects on birth weight using a standardized statistical approach.

METHODS:

Fourteen research groups from nine countries participated. We developed a protocol to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for the association between particulate matter ≤ 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM₁₀) and low birth weight (LBW) among term births, adjusted first for socioeconomic status (SES) and second for additional location-specific variables.

RESULTS:

Among locations with data for the PM₁₀ analysis, ORs estimating the relative risk of term LBW associated with a 10-μg/m³ increase in average PM₁₀ concentration during pregnancy, adjusted for SES, ranged from 0.63 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.30-1.35] for the Netherlands to 1.15 (95% CI, 0.61-2.18) for Vancouver, with six research groups reporting statistically significant adverse associations. We found evidence of statistically significant heterogeneity in estimated effects among locations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Variability in PM₁₀-LBW relationships among study locations remained despite use of a common statistical approach. A more detailed meta-analysis and use of more complex protocols for future analysis may uncover reasons for heterogeneity across locations. However, our findings confirm the potential for a diverse group of researchers to analyze their data in a standardized way to improve understanding of air pollution effects on birth outcomes.

PMID:
21306972
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3222970
Free PMC Article

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