Air Pollution and Birth Outcomes in Atlanta

EPA Grant Number: F5D30804
Title: Air Pollution and Birth Outcomes in Atlanta
Investigators: Darrow, Lyndsey
Institution: Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: August 1, 2005 through August 1, 2008
Project Amount: $89,872
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


The objective of this project is to assess the relationship between ambient air pollution concentrations during gestation and the outcomes of preterm delivery and intrauterine growth retardation. These adverse birth outcomes will be evaluated in relation to size, source, and component characterizations of particulate matter (PM) as well as gaseous pollutants in the five-county Atlanta metropolitan area. The gestational window of interest is specific to each outcome and is based on previous reports: the six weeks prior to birth (preterm delivery) and the third trimester (intrauterine growth retardation).


In this retrospective cohort study, birth data for the period 1998-2004 will be obtained from the Georgia Division of Public Health Vital Records. Using temporal and spatio-temporal models, preterm delivery and intrauterine growth retardation will be examined in relation to indices of air pollution during biologically appropriate gestational windows of susceptibility. Air quality data will be obtained from the EPA's AQS system, the Electric Power Research Institute's ARIES monitor in downtown Atlanta and Georgia Tech's PM2.5 network. Using the highly specific PM2.5 constituent classifications available from 1998-present, a comprehensive analysis of PM2.5 components will be conducted.

Expected Results:

This study will build on recent research indicating harmful effects of prenatal exposure to PM and other ambient air pollutants. This study will be the most comprehensive assessment of these hypotheses to date due to the sophisticated characterizations of PM in Atlanta. With approximately 350,000 births during the study period, this cohort provides power to detect subtle associations between ambient pollutant concentrations and these adverse birth outcomes for which small increases in risk magnify into large public health costs. Results will contribute to our understanding of the effects of air pollution on a vulnerable subpopulation and may identify sources, constituents and sizes of PM driving previously reported associations.

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, health effects, human health, susceptibility, sensitive populations, fetus, infants, particulates, PM2.5, epidemiology, Southeast,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, Risk Assessments, Environmental Monitoring, Risk Assessment, atmospheric particulate matter, children's health, fetal exposure, human health effects, ambient air monitoring, prenatal exposure, developmental effects, airborne particulate matter, Atlanta, air pollution, gestational exposure, environmental health effects, intrauterine growth retardation, human exposure, ambient particle health effects, airborne aerosols, particulate matter components, preterm delivery, exposure assessment, human health risk, human in vitro mutagenicity studies

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final