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Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Jun;124(6):875-80. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409651. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Air Pollution and Preterm Birth in the U.S. State of Georgia (2002-2006): Associations with Concentrations of 11 Ambient Air Pollutants Estimated by Combining Community Multiscale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) Simulations with Stationary Monitor Measurements.

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Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Previous epidemiologic studies suggest associations between preterm birth and ambient air pollution.


We investigated associations between 11 ambient air pollutants, estimated by combining Community Multiscale Air Quality model (CMAQ) simulations with measurements from stationary monitors, and risk of preterm birth (< 37 weeks of gestation) in the U.S. state of Georgia.


Birth records for singleton births ≥ 27 weeks of gestation with complete covariate information and estimated dates of conception between 1 January 2002 and 28 February 2006 were obtained from the Office of Health Indicators for Planning, Georgia Department of Public Health (n = 511,658 births). Daily pollutant concentrations at 12-km resolution were estimated for 11 ambient air pollutants. We used logistic regression with county-level fixed effects to estimate associations between preterm birth and average pollutant concentrations during the first and second trimester. Discrete-time survival models were used to estimate third-trimester and total pregnancy associations. Effect modification was investigated by maternal education, race, census tract poverty level, and county-level urbanicity.


Trimester-specific and total pregnancy associations (p < 0.05) were observed for several pollutants. All the traffic-related pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5 elemental carbon) were associated with preterm birth [e.g., odds ratios for interquartile range increases in carbon monoxide during the first, second, and third trimesters and total pregnancy were 1.005 (95% CI: 1.001, 1.009), 1.007 (95% CI: 1.002, 1.011), 1.010 (95% CI: 1.006, 1.014), and 1.011 (95% CI: 1.006, 1.017)]. Associations tended to be higher for mothers with low educational attainment and African American mothers.


Several ambient air pollutants were associated with preterm birth; associations were observed in all exposure windows.


Hao H, Chang HH, Holmes HA, Mulholland JA, Klein M, Darrow LA, Strickland MJ. 2016. Air pollution and preterm birth in the U.S. state of Georgia (2002-2006): associations with concentrations of 11 ambient air pollutants estimated by combining Community Multiscale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) simulations with stationary monitor measurements. Environ Health Perspect 124:875-880;

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