Maternal Exposure to Air Pollution and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Halifax, Nova Scotia

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We aimed to examine the associations between exposure to air pollution exposure and the outcomes of preterm birth (PTB), term low birth weight (TLBW), and small for gestational age.


We conducted a population-based cohort study using a perinatal database linked to land-use regression-modeled air pollution data.


Compared with women in the lowest quartile of toluene exposure, those in the second lowest quartile showed a positive association with PTB (odds ratio = 1.35, 95% confidence interval: 1.12, 1.63). A piecewise logistic regression breakpoint analysis identified a cut point (identifying a change in the slope) of 0.36 μg/m3 for toluene and the risk of PTB. There was also some evidence to suggest an association between sulfur dioxide and TLBW.


This study provides some evidence to suggest that in an area of relatively low air pollution concentration, maternal exposure to some air pollutants may be associated with adverse birth outcomes.

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