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Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Oct;118(10):1483-9. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901509. Epub 2010 May 14.

Maternal exposure to nitrogen dioxide during pregnancy and offspring birth weight: comparison of two exposure models.

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INSERM, Avenir Team Environmental Epidemiology Applied to Fecundity and Reproduction, Institut Albert Bonniot, Grenoble, France.



Studies of the effects of air pollutants on birth weight often assess exposure with networks of permanent air quality monitoring stations (AQMSs), which have a poor spatial resolution.


We aimed to compare the exposure model based on the nearest AQMS and a temporally adjusted geostatistical (TAG) model with a finer spatial resolution, for use in pregnancy studies.


The AQMS and TAG exposure models were implemented in two areas surrounding medium-size cities in which 776 pregnant women were followed as part of the EDEN mother-child cohort. The exposure models were compared in terms of estimated nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels and of their association with birth weight.


The correlations between the two estimates of exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy were r = 0.67, 0.70, and 0.83 for women living within 5, 2, and 1 km of an AQMS, respectively. Exposure patterns displayed greater spatial than temporal variations. Exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy was most strongly associated with birth weight for women living < 2 km away from an AQMS: a 10-µg/m3 increase in NO2 exposure was associated with an adjusted difference in birth weight of -37 g [95% confidence interval (CI), -75 to 1 g] for the nearest-AQMS model and of -51 g (95% CI, -128 to 26 g) for the TAG model. The association was less strong (higher p-value) for women living within 5 or 1 km of an AQMS.


The two exposure models tended to give consistent results in terms of association with birth weight, despite the moderate concordance between exposure estimates.

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