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Proximity to roadways and pregnancy outcomes


Adverse birth outcomes are associated with exposure to air pollution during pregnancy. Road proximity is a simple, widely available metric for capturing local variation in exposure to traffic-related air pollution. We characterized maternal exposure to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy using residential proximity to major roadways among 2004–2008 singleton births in NC. Controlling for maternal race, age, education, nativity, marital status, and tobacco use, and season of birth, parity, infant sex, and Census tract-level urbanization and income, we evaluated the association between road proximity and pregnancy outcomes using generalized linear mixed models with a random intercept for each Census tract. Birth weight, birth weight percentile for gestational age, gestational hypertension, and small-for-gestational age were not associated with road proximity; however, women residing within 250 m of a major roadway were at 3–5% increased odds of low birth weight, preterm birth, and late preterm birth compared with women residing beyond 250 m (P<0.05). Our analyses demonstrate an association between proximity to major roadways and pregnancy outcomes using a large sample. Road proximity may represent a relatively straightforward method for assessing maternal risk from exposure to traffic-related air pollution, with results offering guidance for studies that can more accurately characterize air pollution exposures.

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This research was supported by funding for the Southern Center on Environmentally-Driven Disparities in Birth Outcomes provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (RD-83329301).

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Correspondence to Marie Lynn Miranda.

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Miranda, M., Edwards, S., Chang, H. et al. Proximity to roadways and pregnancy outcomes. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 23, 32–38 (2013).

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