Cause-specific stillbirth and exposure to chemical constituents and sources of fine particulate matter

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The stillbirth rate in the United States is relatively high, but limited evidence is available linking stillbirth with fine particulate matter (PM2.5), its chemical constituents and sources. In this study, we explored associations between cause-specific stillbirth and prenatal exposures to those pollutants with using live birth and stillbirth records from eight California locations during 2002–2009. ICD-10 codes were used to identify cause of stillbirth from stillbirth records. PM2.5 total mass and chemical constituents were collected from ambient monitors and PM2.5 sources were quantified using Positive Matrix Factorization. Conditional logistic regression was applied using a nested case-control study design (N = 32,262). We found that different causes of stillbirth were associated with different PM2.5 sources and/or chemical constituents. For stillbirths due to fetal growth, the odds ratio (OR) per interquartile range increase in gestational age-adjusted exposure to PM2.5 total mass was 1.23 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06, 1.44). Similar associations were found with resuspended soil (OR=1.25, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.42), and secondary ammonium sulfate (OR=1.45, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.78). No associations were found between any pollutants and stillbirths caused by maternal complications. This study highlighted the importance of investigating cause-specific stillbirth and the differential toxicity levels of specific PM2.5 sources and chemical constituents.

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