Air pollution effects on fetal and child development: A cohort comparison in China

In Tongliang, China, a coal-fired power plant was the major pollution source until its shutdown in 2004. We enrolled two cohorts of nonsmoking women and their newborns before and after the shutdown to examine the relationship between prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and fetal and child growth and development. PAHs were used to measure exposure to air pollution generated by the power plant. Using PAH-DNA adduct levels as biomarkers for the biologically effective dose of PAH exposure, we examined whether PAHeDNA adduct levels were associated with birth outcome, growth rate, and neurodevelopment. Head circumference was greater in children of the second cohort,
compared with the first (p = 0.001), consistent with significantly reduced levels of cord blood PAH-DNA adducts in cohort II (p < 0.001) and reduced levels of ambient PAHs (p= 0.01).

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