Air Pollution Impacts on Neonatal and Early Childhood Development

EPA Grant Number: R836155C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R836155
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico
Center Director: Alshawabkeh, Akram
Title: Air Pollution Impacts on Neonatal and Early Childhood Development
Investigators: MacIntosh, Helen Suh , Cordero, Jose F. , Grashow, Rachel , Manjourides, Justin , Zimmerman, Emily
Institution: Northeastern University , University of Puerto Rico - Medical Sciences Campus
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2019
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health , Children's Health

Objective:

This study will provide new evidence of the impacts of air pollution on neonatal and early childhood development for infants and children living in Puerto Rico and of factors that affect susceptibility to air pollution’s harmful impacts. This project leverages the success of PROTECT, a cohort study of 1800 pregnant women in Puerto Rico for whom a rich dataset of environmental, health, social, demographic, and behavioral factors are being collected. Added to these data will be measurements of air pollution exposures, early childhood development, and non-nutritive suck (NNS), a measure of newborn central nervous system function that has not yet been used to assess neonatal development in environmental epidemiology.

Specific Aim 1: Assess the association of air pollution on adverse birth outcomes.

Specific Aim 2: Determine the impact of air pollution on child development.

Specific Aim 3: Examine effect modification of the air pollution-adverse health relationship by social and personal factors, including socio-economic status, maternal stress, birth outcomes, other pollutant exposures, and housing characteristics. 

Approach:

Researchers will obtain air pollution exposure and health measurements for a cohort of 600 children living in Puerto Rico, who will be followed from gestation through age four. Measurements will be obtained using numerous measures of adverse birth outcomes and development, including preterm birth, annual respiratory and neurodevelopmental evaluations, and NNS. Researchers will link these health measures to measurements of air pollution exposures, metal biomarkers, in utero exposures to contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), and maternal and child characteristics for each child. Researchers will use multiple logistic regression, multi-level mixed models, and cluster analysis techniques to assess the effects of air pollution on adverse birth and developmental outcomes and effect modification of these effects by socioeconomic factors, maternal stress, birth outcomes, CEC mixtures, and home characteristics. Primary analyses will be performed for particulate pollution, with secondary analyses examining impacts of ozone, NO2, PM2.5 sources, air pollutant mixtures, and exposure biomarkers. All models will control for confounders. 

Expected Results:

Researchers will provide evidence of air pollution-mediated risks of developmental delays and adverse birth outcomes for infants and children living in Puerto Rico, who are highly exposed to environmental pollution yet understudied. The insights gained from this research will inform strategies to reduce the frequency of adverse birth outcomes and developmental delays and to improve the cognitive and respiratory health of Puerto Rican children. In so doing, this project will advance understanding of (1) the impact of air pollution exposures on the developing brain, a susceptible organ that is difficult to access in clinical evaluations, (2) how air pollution exposures and birth outcomes impact neurocognitive development of Puerto Rican children, and (3) the ability of personal factors and chemical mixtures to modify the impact of air pollution on development.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 2 publications for this subprojectView all 25 publications for this center

Progress and Final Reports:

2016 Progress Report
2017 Progress Report


Main Center Abstract and Reports:

R836155    Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R836155C001 Air Pollution Impacts on Neonatal and Early Childhood Development
R836155C002 Toxicogenomics-based Mechanistic Multimedia Exposure Assessment and Child Development
R836155C003 Biomarker Epidemiology of In Utero Environmental Exposures and Child Development