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Are you Getting Lighter Babies?

Morello-Frosch et al (2010) from Berkeley University estimated average ambient air pollutant concentrations throughout pregnancy in the neighborhoods of women who delivered term singleton live births between 1996 and 2006 in California. They adjusted effect estimates of air pollutants on birth weight for infant characteristics, maternal characteristics, neighborhood socioeconomic factors, and year and season of birth.

Their study indicates that maternal exposure to ambient air pollution results in modestly lower infant birth weight. A small decline in birth weight is unlikely to have clinical relevance for individual infants, and there is debate about whether a small shift in the population distribution of birth weight has broader health implications. However, the ubiquity of air pollution exposures, the responsiveness of pollutant levels to regulation, and the fact that the highest pollution levels in California are lower than those regularly experienced in other countries suggest that precautionary efforts to reduce pollutants may be beneficial for infant health from a population perspective.

Download PDF : Morello-Frosch (2010) – Ambient Air Pollution Exposure & Full-term Birth Weight in California

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