Preeclampsia is a major complication of pregnancy that can lead to substantial maternal and perinatal morbidity, mortality, and preterm birth. Increasing evidence suggests that air pollution adversely affects pregnancy outcomes. Yet few studies have examined how local traffic-generated emissions affect preeclampsia in addition to preterm birth.
We examined effects of residential exposure to local traffic-generated air pollution on preeclampsia and preterm delivery (PTD).
We identified 81,186 singleton birth records from four hospitals (1997-2006) in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California (USA). We used a line-source dispersion model (CALINE4) to estimate individual exposure to local traffic-generated nitrogen oxides (NO(x)) and particulate matter < 2.5 mum in aerodynamic diameter (PM(2.5)) across the entire pregnancy. We used logistic regression to estimate effects of air pollution exposures on preeclampsia, PTD (gestational age < 37 weeks), moderate PTD (MPTD; gestational age < 35 weeks), and very PTD (VPTD; gestational age < 30 weeks).
We observed elevated risks for preeclampsia and preterm birth from maternal exposure to local traffic-generated NO(x) and PM(2.5). The risk of preeclampsia increased 33% [odds ratio (OR) = 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.18-1.49] and 42% (OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.26-1.59) for the highest NO(x) and PM(2.5) exposure quartiles, respectively. The risk of VPTD increased 128% (OR = 2.28; 95% CI, 2.15-2.42) and 81% (OR = 1.81; 95% CI, 1.71-1.92) for women in the highest NO(x) and PM(2.5) exposure quartiles, respectively.
Exposure to local traffic-generated air pollution during pregnancy increases the risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth in Southern California women. These results provide further evidence that air pollution is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes.