Science + Technology

Study Shows Adverse Effects of Air Pollution on Births in Los Angeles County



Women who lived in regions with high carbon monoxide orfine-particle levels — pollution caused mainly by vehicle traffic — wereapproximately 10 to 25 percent more likely to have a preterm baby than womenwho lived in less polluted areas. This was especially true for women whobreathed polluted air during the first trimester or during the last months andweeks of pregnancy.


Air pollution in Los Angeles Countyremains a major public health problem that affects everybody, particularly pregnantwomen. This study provides further facts to policymakers to weigh the costs andbenefits of reducing air pollution, both in terms of dollars and human health.


Dr. Beate Ritz, professor ofepidemiology at the UCLA School ofPublic Health; Michelle Wilhelm; Katherine J. Hoggatt;and Jo Kay C. Ghosh.


The study appears in the American Journal of Epidemiology,online at


The first large-scale air pollution study of its kind, thisstudy collected detailed information on more than 2,500 women who gave birth in2003. Through personal interviews, researchers were able to determine the risksdue to air pollution separate from other risk factors, such as smoking,exposure to secondhand smoke and alcohol use.


Funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, andpartial funding from the Southern California Environmental Health SciencesCenter, supported the research.



Media Contact