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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Feb;25(6):5447-5458. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-0692-9. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Acute effects of air pollution on spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, and stillbirth in Ahvaz, Iran: a time-series study.

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Air Pollution and Respiratory Diseases Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
Environmental Technologies Research Center (ETRC), Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
Environmental Health Engineering Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.
Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Public Health, Kerman Medical University, Kerman, Iran.


Living in areas with high air pollution may have adverse effects on human health. There are few studies about the association between breathing polluted air and adverse pregnancy outcomes in the Middle East. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between air pollution and spontaneous abortion, premature birth, and stillbirth in Ahvaz. A time-series study was conducted. Data about spontaneous abortion, premature deliveries, and stillbirth was collected from Ahvaz Imam Khomeini Hospital. Air pollution data including NO, CO, NO2, PM10, SO2, O3, and climate data were, respectively, collected from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Khuzestan Province Meteorology Office from March 2008 until March 2015. The relationship between air pollutants with the number of abortions, premature births, and stillbirths was found using a quasi-Poisson distributed lag model, adjusted by trend, seasonality, temperature, relative humidity, weekdays, and holidays. The average daily dust in Ahvaz on 7.2% days of the year was higher than 500 μg/m3 (very dangerous). Findings from this study indicate a significant association between each 10-unit increase in SO2 and spontaneous abortion in lag 0 and 9 days. There was a significant relation between each 10-unit increase in NO2 and CO, and premature birth in lag 0. Also, we found a significant association between each 10-unit increase in CO and premature delivery in lag 1; PM10 and premature delivery in lags 10, 11, and 12; and NO and premature delivery in lags 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, and 13 (p value < 0.05). Contact with polluted air during pregnancy may increase adverse pregnancy outcomes and stillbirth. Pregnant women should avoid polluted air.


Abortion; Air pollution; Pregnancy; Premature delivery; Stillbirth

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