Associations between maternal residential proximity to air emissions from industrial facilities and low birth weight in Texas, USA.



Citation:

Gong X, Lin Y, Bell ML, Zhan FB. Associations between maternal residential proximity to air emissions from industrial facilities and low birth weight in Texas, USA. Environment International 2018;120:181-198.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Most previous studies examining associations between maternal exposures to air pollutants during pregnancy and low birth weight (LBW) in offspring focused on criteria air pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, O3, NO2, SO2, CO, and Pb). The relationship between non-criteria air pollutants and LBW is understudied and requires greater coverage. OBJECTIVES: This study investigated associations between maternal residential exposure to industrial air pollutants during pregnancy and LBW in offspring. METHODS: This study used a case-control study design that included 94,106 term LBW cases and 376,424 controls. It covered 78 air pollutants common to both the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and ground air quality monitoring databases in Texas during 1996-2008. A modified version of the Emission Weighted Proximity Model (EWPM), calibrated with ground monitoring data, was used to estimate maternal residential exposure to industrial air pollutants during pregnancy. Binary logistic regression analyses were performed to calculate odds ratios (ORs) reflecting the associations of maternal exposure to industrial air pollutants and LBW in offspring, adjusted for child's sex, gestational weeks, maternal age, education, race/ethnicity, marital status, prenatal care, tobacco use during pregnancy, public health region of maternal residence, and year of birth. In addition, the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons was applied to the results of logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: Relative to the non-exposed reference group, maternal residential exposure to benzene (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04, 1.08), benzo(g,h,i)perylene (aOR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02, 1.07), cumene (aOR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03, 1.07), cyclohexane (aOR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02, 1.07), dichloromethane (aOR 1.04, 95% CI 1.03, 1.07), ethylbenzene (aOR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03, 1.06), ethylene (aOR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03, 1.09), mercury (aOR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02, 1.07), naphthalene (aOR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01, 1.05), n-hexane (aOR 1.06, 95% CI 1.04, 1.08), propylene (aOR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03, 1.10), styrene (aOR 1.06, 95% CI 1.04, 1.08), toluene (aOR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03, 1.07), and zinc (fume or dust) (aOR 1.10, 95% CI 1.06, 1.13) was found to have significantly higher odds of LBW in offspring. When the estimated exposures were categorized into four different groups (zero, low, medium, and high) in the analysis, eleven of the fourteen air pollutants, with the exception of benzo(g,h,i)perylene, ethylene, and propylene, remained as significant risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that maternal residential proximity to industrial facilities emitting any of the fourteen pollutants identified by this study during pregnancy may be associated with LBW in offspring. With the exception of benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and zinc, the rest of the fourteen air pollutants are identified as LBW risk factors for the first time by this study. Further epidemiological, biological, and toxicological studies are suggested to verify the findings from this study.