Air Pollution and Birth Outcomes

Analysis of birth outcomes in the Greater Vancouver Regional District

Project Summary:
Recent studies have provided evidence of an association between adverse birth outcomes and air pollution and, in particular, traffic-related air pollution. These studies suggest that birth outcomes may be an especially sensitive indicator of the health impacts of air pollution.

This study will examine the relationship between adverse birth outcomes and exposure to air pollutants in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).
This cohort will be a subset of the childhood cohort (described in the Respiratory Disease Research page) and will consist of approximately 60,000 births in the geographic area of the GVRD. We will evaluate low birth weight (<2500 grams), pre-term birth (<37 weeks), and intruterine growth retardation (IUGR) as outcomes. Exposure to air pollution will be based on ambient air pollution measurements and individual estimates of exposure based on measures of traffic proximity and a traffic-based exposure model.

Objectives:
To examine the relationship between adverse birth outcomes and exposure to air pollutants in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Publications
Michael Brauer, Cornel Lencar, Lillian Tamburic, Mieke Koehoorn, Paul Demers, and Catherine Karr. A Cohort Study of Traffic-Related Air Pollution Impacts on Birth Outcomes Environ Health Perspect 116:680–686 (2008).[Online 23 January 2008] (link)

Presentations and Posters
Presentations are in PDF format. The free Acrobat Reader is needed to access these documents.

2008
Overview of BAQS Health Effects Studies and Birth Outcomes presented by Michael Brauer at the BC Lung Association's 5th Annual Air Quality and Health Workshop March 28, 2008 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. Download presentation

2007
Birth Outcomes Study, presented by Michael Brauer at the BAQS Meeting in Semiahmoo, January 2007. Download presentation (pdf)

2006
PM2.5 exposure and risk of hospitalization for infant bronchiolitis
presented by C. Karr, K. Miller, T. Larson, J. Koenig at the ISEE/ISEA Conference in Paris, September 2006. Download abstract or poster.

A cohort study of air pollution impacts on birth outcomes presented by M. Brauer, C. Lencar, L. Tamburic, M. Koehoorn, E. Nethery, P. Demers, C. Karr at the ISEE/ISEA Conference in Paris, September 2006. Download abstract or presentation.

Spatial modeling of exposure to traffic-related air pollution and application to birth cohorts in the Georgia Basin – Puget Sound International Airshed presented by M. Brauer at the ISEE/ISEA Conference in Paris, September 2006. Download abstract or presentation

2005
Health Effects of Air Pollution: Impacts on Birth Outcomes in the Greater Vancouver Regional District presented by E.Nethery, M.Brauer, P. Demers, C.Karr, M. Koehoorn, C.Lencar, L.Tamburic at the PNWIS Conference, Blaine WA. November 10, 2005. Download presentation or abstract.

 

Exposure of pregnant women to air pollution
Investigators: Elizabeth Nethery, Michael Brauer from the University of British Columbia

equipment
Left: Research volunteer Catherine Harrison is shown wearing the personal monitoring equipment in a small bag. Study volunteers also had the option of carrying the equipment in knapsacks.

This project is now complete!
Thank You to all our Pregnancy, Health and Air Pollution Research Study Participants!
Results have been mailed out to each of our study participants.
If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Karlen at 604-822-0837 or at bjkarlen@interchange.ubc.ca

Objectives
To evaluate the ability of residential address to estimate actual air pollution exposures of pregnant women.
To understand the impact of mobility on air pollution exposure of pregnant women.

Project Summary
Research has suggested that high levels of urban air pollution are linked to increased risk of premature birth or low birth weight babies. This study seeks to increase our understanding of the relationship between air pollution and infant health, in order to help policy makers and regulators when establishing health-based guidelines and regulations for urban air quality.

As part of our larger study on air pollution and birth outcomes, we are interested in understanding where and how much air pollution women are exposed to during pregnancy. Specifically, we are measuring pregnant women's exposure to air pollutants in Vancouver and surrounding communities.

Participating women wear a personal air sampling device and a GPS data logger for three 48-hour periods. These devices provide us with information about air quality and location. Additional data come from activity logs kept by participants during the sampling sessions, and from brief questionnaires about where you live and work.

 

Publications
Elizabeth Nethery, Kay Teschke, and Michael Brauer, Predicting personal exposure of pregnant women to traffic-related air pollutants. Science of The Total Environment Volume 395, Issue 1, 20 May 2008, Pages 11-22. (link)

Elizabeth Nethery, Michael Brauer and Patti Janssen. Time–activity patterns of pregnant women and changes during the course of pregnancy. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication 14 May 2008; doi: 10.1038/jes.2008.24 (link)

Elizabeth Nethery, Sara E Leckie, K Teschke and Michael Brauer. From measures to models: An evaluation of air pollution exposure assessment for epidemiologic studies of pregnant women. Occup. Environ. Med. published online 10 Dec 2007 (link)

Presentations and Posters
Presentations are in PDF format. The free Acrobat Reader is needed to access these documents.

2008
From Measures to Models: Predicting exposure to air pollution among pregnant women by Elizabeth Nethery at the BC Lung Association's 5th Annual Air Quality and Health Workshop March 28, 2008 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. Download presentation

2007
Personal Exposure to Air Pollution during Pregnancy, presented by Elizabeth Nethery at the BAQS Meeting in Semiahmoo, January 2007. Download presentation (pdf)

2006
Evaluation of a land use regression model to assess exposure to air pollution during pregnancy: use of GPS tracking and personal monitoing
presented by E. Nethery, S. Leckie, J. Marshall, M. Brauer at the ISEE/ISEA Conference in Paris, September 2006. Download abstractor poster.

A cohort study of air pollution impacts on birth outcomes presented by M. Brauer, C. Lencar, L. Tamburic, M. Koehoorn, E. Nethery, P. Demers, C. Karr at the ISEE/ISEA Conference in Paris, September 2006. Download abstract or presentation.

Spatial modeling of exposure to traffic-related air pollution and application to birth cohorts in the Georgia Basin – Puget Sound International Airshed presented by M. Brauer at the ISEE/ISEA Conference in Paris, September 2006. Download abstract or presentation

2005
Health Effects of Air Pollution: Impacts on Birth Outcomes in the Greater Vancouver Regional District presented by E.Nethery, M.Brauer, P. Demers, C.Karr, M. Koehoorn, C.Lencar, L.Tamburic at the PNWIS Conference, Blaine WA. November 10, 2005. Download presentation or abstract.

 

Air pollution may impact babies' birth weight: Michael Brauer on CTV BC news, talking about the link between air pollution and birth outcomes (June 27, 2008)

Maps
These maps show annual average air pollution levels, low birth weight rates, and neighbourhood income levels in the Metro Vancouver area and Victoria.

For each forward sortation area (a geographical region where all postal codes start with the same three characters), you can see:

  • the distribution of neighbourhood income
  • the percentage of children born with a low birth weight
  • the concentration of nitrogen oxide (NO), an important air pollutant

Click on each image to enlarge
vancouver

burnaby

richmond

maple ridge

victoria


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

School of Population & Public Health
2206 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC
Canada
V6T 1Z3
Tel 604.822.2772
Fax 604.822.4994

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia