Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Elemental Constituents of Particulate Matter and Newborn's Size in Eight European Cohorts

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Elemental Constituents of Particulate Matter and Newborn's Size in Eight European Cohorts

Article excerpt


Low birth weight (LBW; birth weight < 2,500 g) is a predictor of infant morbidity and mortality. The evidence for associations between exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) and LBW is growing (Fleischer et al. 2014; Pedersen et al. 2013a; Stieb et al. 2012). Recent meta-analyses show heterogeneity across studies conducted in different areas (Dadvand et al. 2013; Sapkota et al. 2012; Stieb et al. 2012). Many of these studies have also examined continuous birth weight, and some point toward an association between PM and mean birth weight adjusted for gestational age (Pedersen et al. 2013a; Stieb et al. 2012).

PM is a complex mixture of solid matter and liquid droplets made up of a number of components, including elemental carbon, metals, organic chemicals, acids, and soil material, which vary in composition by place and time (Bell et al. 2007). The health effects of PM may depend on its origin and chemical composition (Kelly and Fussell 2012; Stanek et al. 2011).

Associations of the composition of PM with an aerodynamic diameter of [less than or equal to] 2.5 [micro]m ([PM.sub.2.5]) with LBW and/or birth weight were investigated in four large study populations from the United States (Basu et al. 2014; Bell et al. 2010, 2012; Darrow et al. 2011; Ebisu and Bell 2012) with mixed findings for birth weight in particular. For example, nickel (Ni) has been found to be associated with a reduction in birth weight in two of these studies (Basu et al. 2014; Bell et al. 2010), but not in a third study (Ebisu and Bell 2012). Because the elemental composition of PM differs by location, studies of PM constituents and LBW in other study areas are warranted. Moreover, these previous studies relied on exposure estimates based on data from the nearest regulatory air quality monitor, which do not capture within-city exposure contrasts adequately, possibly resulting in misclassification of exposure and reduced risk estimates (Woodruff et al. 2009). None of these studies examined associations between particulate constituents and birth head circumference, which has been associated with cognitive ability (Heinonen et al. 2008) and may, as we have shown, be influenced by [PM.sub.2.5] and PM with an aerodynamic diameter [less than or equal to] 10 [micro]m ([PM.sub.10]) mass concentration (Pedersen et al. 2013a).

Recently, land use regression (LUR) models have also been developed for eight a priori selected elements in both [PM.sub.2.5] and [PM.sub.10] in 20 study areas across Europe (de Hoogh et al. 2013) where birth cohorts had been conducted (Pedersen et al. 2013a), providing the opportunity to study the impact of PM composition on offspring measurements at birth in European populations. A high content of PM in each of these elements is to some extent characteristic of a different source. For example, brake linings tend to increase copper (Cu) and iron (Fe) concentrations; tire wear, zinc (Zn); residual oil combustion associated with areas with shipping, oil heating, and/or sizable industries is associated with Ni and vanadium (V) concentrations; biomass burning with potassium (K); secondary combustion pollution in long-range transport with sulfur (S), and crustal materials with silicon (Si) (Viana et al. 2008).

In the present study, we estimated the impact of exposures to these eight PM constituents on term LBW, birth weight, and birth head circumference in a large European study population with standardized fine-scale exposure assessment and extensive control for potential confounders.


Study population. We pooled data from eight European mother-child cohorts conducted in areas where exposure to elemental composition of PM was assessed as part of the TRANSPHORM (Transport-related Air Pollution and Health impacts--Integrated Methodologies for Assessing Particulate Matter) project (de Hoogh et al. 2013): BAMSE-Sweden (Child, Allergy, Environment, Stockholm, Epidemiology; four centers close to Stockholm), DNBC-Denmark (Danish National Birth Cohort; Copenhagen), KANC-Lithuania (Kaunas neonatal cohort; Kaunas), ABCD (Amsterdam Born Children and their Development; Amsterdam), and PIAMA (Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy; three centers)-the Netherlands, DUISBURG-Germany (Duisburg), GASPII-Italy (Gene and Environment: Prospective Study on Infancy in Italy; Rome), and INMA-Spain (INfancia y Medio Ambiente; Childhood and Environment; Sabadell). …

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