2011 Progress Report: 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 , Hammond, S. Katharine , Lurmann, Fred , Noth, Elizabeth , Padula, Amy , Shaw, Gary M.
Current Investigators: Tager, Ira , Hammond, S. Katharine , Padula, Amy , Shaw, Gary M.
Institution: University of California - Berkeley , Sonoma Technology, Inc. , Stanford University
Current 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)
Project Period Covered by this Report: May 7, 2011 through May 6,2012
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

Objective:

Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the US. Our 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. Specifically, in this project we are conducting a rigorous population-based epidemiologic study to address the following research aim: 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.

Progress Summary:

In this project we are using data from the largest case-control study conducted to date in the United States on birth defects—the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. We limit our inquiries to the California study site, which is being conducted in the San Joaquin Valley - an area with demonstrated poor air quality. This study includes information on 30 birth defect phenotypes. Our initial analyses have targeted three specific birth defect phenotypes that, based on past investigations, appear to be more environmentally-sensitive in their etiologies, namely neural tube defects, oral clefts, and the abdominal wall defect known as gastroschisis. Eligible cases included live births, stillbirths, and pregnancy terminations and were selected from the center’s surveillance system based on strict eligibility criteria. Controls included non-malformed live-born infants randomly selected from birth hospitals to represent the population from which the cases arise.

Initial analyses have included 802 cases (215 neural tube defects, 293 cleft lip with or without cleft palate, 129 cleft palate only; 169 gastroschisis) and 849 controls. Interviews were conducted with mothers of 71% of eligible cases and 69% of controls. Mothers reported a full residential history from one month before conception through delivery, including start and stop dates for each residence. Addresses were geocoded using the Centrus Software (http://www.qmsoft.com/), which combines reference street networks from Tele Atlas (http://www.teleatlas.com/OurProducts/MapData/Dynamap/index.htm) and United States Postal Service data. Geocodes were available for 95% of cases and 93% of controls.

Ambient air pollution measurements and traffic metrics were assigned to each of the geocoded residences reported by the study subjects during the first and second month of pregnancy. Exposure assignments were made if the geocodes were within the San Joaquin Valley and accounted for at least 75% of the first and second month of pregnancy. The pollutants included: ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter less than 10 μg/m3 (PM10), and PM less than 2.5 μg/m3 (PM2.5). Daily 24-hour averages for all of the pollutants as well as a daily daytime 8-hour maximum for ozone were then averaged over the first two months of pregnancy.

Our analyses find evidence that higher exposure to traffic-related ambient air pollutants CO, NO and NO2 and lower exposure to O3 during the first two months of pregnancy appears to be associated with increased odds of neural tube defects in the San Joaquin Valley of California. In contrast, higher ozone was associated with an increased odds of gastroschisis and higher CO was associated with decreased odds of cleft lip with/without cleft palate. We found no associations between particulate matter and the selected birth defects. We have initiated detailed analyses on the largest grouping of birth defects - congenital heart defects.

Future Activities:

Our plans and goal essentially have not changed. Many more analyses are planned in the coming year.


Journal Articles on this Report : 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 10 publications 4 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Other center views: All 50 publications 15 publications in selected types All 15 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Padula AM, Tager IB, Carmichael SL, Hammond SK, Yang W, Lurmann F, Shaw GM. Ambient air pollution and traffic exposures and congenital heart defects in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2013;27(4):329-339. R834596 (2011)
R834596 (2012)
R834596 (Final)
R834596C002 (2011)
R834596C002 (2012)
R834596C002 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Abstract: Wiley Online-Abstract
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  • Journal Article Padula AM, Tager IB, Carmichael SL, Hammond SK, Lurmann F, Shaw GM. The association of ambient air pollution and traffic exposures with selected congenital anomalies in the San Joaquin Valley of California. American Journal of Epidemiology 2013;177(10):1074-1085. R834596 (2011)
    R834596 (2012)
    R834596 (Final)
    R834596C002 (2011)
    R834596C002 (2012)
    R834596C002 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: Oxford Journals-Full Text HTML
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  • Abstract: Oxford Journals-Abstract
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  • Other: Oxford Journals-Full Text PDF
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    congenital abnormalities, pregnancy, air pollution, traffic, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, HUMAN HEALTH, Biochemistry, Health Effects, Children's Health, Biology, Risk Assessment, asthma, air toxics, prenatal exposure, measuring childhood exposure, biological response, air pollution, children's vulnerablity, assessment of exposure, childhood respiratory disease, harmful environmental agents, developmental disorders

    Relevant Websites:

    CHAPS - SJV Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2010 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