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Environ Int. 2014 Sep;70:9-14. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.05.005. Epub 2014 May 28.

Air pollution and human fertility rates.

Author information

1
Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain; UPF, Spain. Electronic address: mnieuwenhuijsen@creal.cat.
2
Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain; UPF, Spain.
3
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Division Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
4
Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), U1018, Respiratory and Environmental Epidemiology Team, INSERM, Villejuif, France; UMRS 1018, Université Paris Sud, Villejuif, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Some reports have suggested effects of air pollution on semen quality and success rates of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in humans and lower fertility rates in mice. However, no studies have evaluated the impact of air pollution on human fertility rates.

AIMS:

We assessed the association between traffic related air pollution and fertility rates in humans in Barcelona, Spain (2011-2012). We hypothesized that higher air pollution levels would be associated with lower fertility rates.

METHODS:

We calculated the general fertility rate which is the number of live births per 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 years per census tract. We used land use regression (LUR) modeling to estimate the air pollution concentrations (particulate matter, NO2/NOx) per census tract. We used Besag-York-Mollié models to quantify the relationship between air pollution and fertility rates with adjustment for a number of potential confounders such as maternal age and area level socio-economic status.

RESULTS:

We found a statistically significant reduction of fertility rates with an increase in traffic related air pollution levels, particularly for the coarse fraction of particulate matter (IRR=0.87 95% CI 0.82, 0.94 per IQR).

CONCLUSION:

This is the first study in humans to show an association between reduced fertility rates and higher traffic related air pollution levels.

KEYWORDS:

Air pollution; Epidemiology; Fertility; Infertility

PMID:
24879367
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2014.05.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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