From: American Thoracic Society
Published May 22, 2017 02:28 PM

High Levels of Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure and Stress Increase Childhood Asthma Risk

A new study has found that children, especially boys, whose mothers were exposed to higher levels of outdoor particulate air pollution at the same time that they were very stressed were most likely to develop asthma by age six. The study was presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference. 

The team, led by senior investigator Rosalind Wright, MD, MPH, co-director of the Institute for Exposomics Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, conducted this study because of their overarching interest in understanding how these and other environmental factors interact to produce respiratory health disparities.

“We know from prior research that lower income, ethnically mixed urban populations are more greatly burdened with asthma and other respiratory health problems,” said lead author Alison Lee, MD, MS, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  “Given that populations disproportionately exposed to ambient air pollution are also more likely to be exposed to social stressors such as financial strain, discrimination, housing difficulties, and crime or violence, we were particularly interested in combined effects of both factors starting in early development, even in pregnancy.”

Dr. Lee and colleagues looked at the daily exposure of 736 primarily African American and Latina, urban pregnant women to ambient particulate matter, a type of air pollution caused mainly by traffic and industrial emissions.  They also looked at the women’s prenatal stress levels through a survey that gave a “negative life event” score.  The women reported a greater number of negative events characterized as experiencing more stress.  Their full-term infants were followed to the age of six years. 

Continue reading at American Thoracic Society

Image: Prenatal stress and air pollution may increase asthma risk in kids. (Credit: American Thoracic Society)

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