A new study has found the evidence linking high exposure to air pollution to an increased risk of congenital malformations.
This was the first study to assess the association between different modes of conception-assisted reproductive technology (ART) versus spontaneous conception (SC) -- and the risks of exposure to air pollution to each.
The panel of researchers examined the data on 216,730 born in Israel between 1997 and 2004. They obtained air pollution data which included the levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone (O3) in air from air monitoring stations for the study period.
A geographic information system was used to check the exposure to air pollution during both the first trimester and the entire pregnancy for each woman according to her place of residence.
It was found that exposure to PM10 and NOX pollutants throughout full-term pregnancies had an association with congenital malformations, with specific defects evident in the circulatory system (from PM10 and NOX exposure) and genital organs (from NOX exposure). Moreover, exposure to SO2 and O3 in ART pregnancies were associated, although not significantly, with a higher risk of congenital defects.
The study appeared in the last edition of Environmental Research.
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