Exposure to Air Pollutants and Risk of Birth Defects

EPA Grant Number: R834596C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R834596
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: UC Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environment Health Center
Center Director: Tager, Ira
Title: Exposure to Air Pollutants and Risk of Birth Defects
Investigators: Tager, Ira
Current Investigators: Tager, Ira , Hammond, S. Katharine , Padula, Amy , Shaw, Gary M.
Institution: University of California - Berkeley , Stanford University
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: May 7, 2010 through May 6, 2013 (Extended to May 6, 2014)
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers: Formative Centers (with NIEHS) (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health


Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the US. Our proposed Formative Center's research efforts, will enhance scientific understanding of the potential environmental etiologies of birth defects, which will undoubtedly have important implications for risk assessment and prevention of these common, costly, and often deadly outcomes of pregnancy. In this project (Project 2) we propose to conduct a rigorous population-based epidemiologic study that targets 30 different birth defects. Our research aim specifically proposes to determine whether exposures to specific air pollutants and mixtures of air pollutants, during critical periods of fetal organogenesis, are associated with women delivering infants/fetuses with structural birth defects.

Expected Results:

In this project we will use data from the largest case-control study conducted to date in the US on birth defects - the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. We will limit our inquiries to the California study site which is being conducted in the San Joaquin Valley - an area with demonstrated poor air quality. To these data, we will provide a much more detailed and specific test of our hypothesis with refined exposure data pertaining to high anibient air pollution. The etiologies of most structural birth defects are unknown. There have been a few observations that point toward ambient air pollutants as risk factors for human birth defects. However, this important public health hypothesis has been under studied owing to the lack of good exposure and outcome data. Thus, Project 2 uniquely fills an important gap in our understanding pf the role of environmental exposure on the risk of hurrian birth defects.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 10 publications for this subprojectView all 50 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 4 journal articles for this subprojectView all 15 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, particulates, oxidants, nitrogen oxides, epidemiology, immunology, causal statistical methods, exposure assessment, asthma, San Joaquin Valley, CA, EPA Region 9;, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, HUMAN HEALTH, Biochemistry, Health Effects, Children's Health, Biology, Risk Assessment, asthma, air toxics, prenatal exposure, biological response, measuring childhood exposure, air pollution, assessment of exposure, childhood respiratory disease, children's vulnerablity, harmful environmental agents, developmental disorders

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R834596    UC Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environment Health Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R834596C001 Effect of Multi-Level Environmental Exposure on Birth Outcomes
    R834596C002 Exposure to Air Pollutants and Risk of Birth Defects
    R834596C003 Ambient Pollutant/Bioaerosol Effects on Treg Function