Washington: A new study has revealed that new evidence linking high exposure to air pollution to an increased risk of congenital malformations have been discovered.
The nationwide study is the first to assess the association between different modes of conception-assisted reproductive technology (ART) versus spontaneous conception (SC) -- and the risks of exposure to air pollution to each.
The research team analyzed data on 216,730 born in Israel between 1997 and 2004. Air pollution data, including levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and ozone (O3), were obtained from air monitoring stations for the study period. Using a geographic information system, exposure to air pollution during both the first trimester and the entire pregnancy was assessed for each woman according to her place of residence.
The researchers found that exposure to PM10 and NOX pollutants throughout full-term pregnancies were associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations, with specific defects evident in the circulatory system (from PM10 and NOX exposure) and genital organs (from NOX exposure). They also discovered that exposure to SO2 and O3 in ART pregnancies were associated, although not significantly, with a higher risk of congenital defects.
The researchers said that the findings suggest that exposure to higher levels of air pollution during pregnancy is associated with various adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The study was published in Environmental Research.