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Residential proximity to traffic and female pubertal development

Traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) has been linked with several adverse health outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight, which are both related to onset of puberty. No studies to date have investigated the association between TRAP and altered pubertal timing. Determine the association between residential proximity to traffic, as a marker of long-term TRAP exposure, and age at pubertal onset in a longitudinal study of girls. We analyzed data for 437 girls at the CYGNET study site of the Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program. TRAP exposure was assessed using several measures of residential proximity to traffic based on address at study entry. Using accelerated failure time models, we calculated time ratios (TRs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for specified traffic metrics and pubertal onset, defined as stage 2 or higher for breast or pubic hair development (respectively, B2+ and PH2+). Models were adjusted for race/ethnicity, household income, and cotinine levels. At baseline, 71% of girls lived within 150m of a major road. The median age of onset was 10.3years for B2+ and 10.9years for PH2+. Living within 150m downwind of a major road was associated with earlier onset of PH2+ (TR 0.96, 95% CI 0.93, 0.99). Girls in the highest quintile of either distance-weighted traffic density, annual average daily traffic, and/or traffic density also reached PH2+ earlier than girls in the lowest quintiles. In this first study to assess the association between residential proximity to traffic and pubertal onset we found girls with higher exposure reached one pubertal milestone several months earlier than low exposed girls, even after consideration of likely confounders. Results should be expanded in larger epidemiological studies, and with measured levels of air pollutants.

Authors: McGuinn LA; Voss RW; Laurent CA; Greenspan LC; Kushi LH; Windham GC

Environ Int. 2016 09;94:635-641. Epub 2016-07-01.

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