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Maternal ambient air pollution exposure preconception and during early gestation and offspring congenital orofacial defects.

Maternal air pollution exposure has been related to orofacial clefts but the literature is equivocal. Potential chronic preconception effects have not been studied. OBJECTIVES:
Criteria air pollutant exposure during three months preconception and gestational weeks 3-8 was studied in relation to orofacial defects. METHODS:
Among 188,102 live births and fetal deaths from the Consortium on Safe Labor (2002-2008), 63 had isolated cleft palate (CP) and 159 had isolated cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL ±CP). Exposures were estimated using a modified Community Multiscale Air Quality model. Logistic regression with generalized estimating equations adjusted for site/region and maternal demographic, lifestyle and clinical factors calculated the odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI per interquartile increase in each pollutant. RESULTS:
Preconception, carbon monoxide (CO; OR=2.24; CI: 1.21, 4.16) and particulate matter (PM) ≤10 µm (OR=1.72; CI: 1.12, 2.66) were significantly associated with CP, while sulfur dioxide (SO2) was associated with CL ±CP (OR=1.93; CI: 1.16, 3.21). During gestational weeks 3-8, CO remained a significant risk for CP (OR=2.74; CI: 1.62, 4.62) and nitrogen oxides (NOx; OR=3.64; CI: 1.73, 7.66) and PM ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5; OR=1.74; CI: 1.15, 2.64) were also related to the risk. Analyses by individual week revealed that positive associations of NOx and PM2.5 with CP were most prominent from weeks 3-6 and 3-5, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:
Exposure to several criteria air pollutants preconception and during early gestation was associated with elevated odds for CP, while CL ±CP was only associated with preconception SO2 exposure.

Authors: Zhu Y; Zhang C; Liu D; Grantz KL; Wallace M; Mendola P

Environ Res. 2015 Jul;140:714-20. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.06.002. Epub 2015 Jun 20.

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