University of Oulu

Nazeeba Siddika, Aino K. Rantala, Harri Antikainen, Hamudat Balogun, A. Kofi Amegah, Niilo R.I. Ryti, Jaakko Kukkonen, Mikhail Sofiev, Maritta S. Jaakkola, Jouni J.K. Jaakkola, Short-term prenatal exposure to ambient air pollution and risk of preterm birth - A population-based cohort study in Finland, Environmental Research, Volume 184, 2020, 109290, ISSN 0013-9351,

Short-term prenatal exposure to ambient air pollution and risk of preterm birth : a population-based cohort study in Finland

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Author: Siddika, Nazeeba1,2; Rantala, Aino K.1,2; Antikainen, Harri3;
Organizations: 1Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 8000, 90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Geography Research Unit, P.O. Box 3000, 90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Public Health Research Group, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University Post Office, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
5Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-05-08


Background: Previous studies have provided evidence that prenatal exposure to low-level air pollution increases the risk of preterm birth (PTB), but the findings of the effects of short-term exposure have been inconclusive. Moreover, there is little knowledge on potential synergistic effects of different combinations of air pollutants.

Objectives: To assess independent and joint effects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants during the week prior to the delivery on the risk of PTB.

Methods: The study population included 2568 members of the Espoo Cohort Study, living in the City of Espoo, Finland, born between 1984 and 1990. We assessed individual-level prenatal exposure to ambient air pollutants of interest based on maternal residential addresses, while taking into account their residential mobility. We used both regional-to-city-scale dispersion modelling and land-use regression–based method to estimates the pollutant concentrations. We contrasted the risk of PTB in the highest quartile (Q₄) of exposure to the lower exposure quartiles (Q₁-Q₃) during the specific periods of pregnancy. We applied Poisson regression analysis to estimate the adjusted risk ratios (RRs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for season of birth, maternal age, sex of the baby, family’s socioeconomic status, maternal smoking, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke during pregnancy, single parenthood, and exposure to other air pollutants (this in multi-pollutant models).

Results: The risk of PTB was related to exposures to PM2.5, PM₁₀ and NO₂ during the week prior to the delivery with adjusted RRs of 1.67 (95%CI: 1.14, 2.46), 1.60 (95% CI: 1.09, 2.34) and 1.65 (95% CI: 1.14, 2.37), from three-pollutant models respectively. There were no significant joint effects for these different air pollutants (during the week prior to the delivery).

Conclusion: Our results provide evidence that exposure to fairly low-level air pollution may trigger PTB, but synergistic effects of different pollutants are not likely.

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Series: Environmental research
ISSN: 0013-9351
ISSN-E: 1096-0953
ISSN-L: 0013-9351
Volume: 184
Article number: 109290
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109290
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant numbers 266314, 267675, 267995 (APTA Consortium) and 31071 and 31072 (GLORIA Consortium)], The Research Foundation of the Pulmonary Diseases and Nordforsk [grant number 75007 (NordicWelfAir)]. N.S. received PhD scholarships from the Health and Biosciences Doctoral Programme (HBS_DP) and the Oulu University Scholarship Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 266314
Detailed Information: 266314 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
267995 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC-BY-NC-ND license (