IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 2236: Small-Scale Variations in Urban Air Pollution Levels Are Significantly Associated with Premature Births: A Case Study in São Paulo, Brazil (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Premature birth is the result of a complex interaction among genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, socioeconomic, and environmental factors. We evaluated the possible associations between air pollution and the incidence of prematurity in spatial clusters of high and low prevalence in the municipality of São Paulo. It is a spatial case-control study. The residential addresses of mothers with live births that occurred in 2012 and 2013 were geo-coded. A spatial scan statistical test performed to identify possible low-prevalence and high-prevalence clusters of premature births. After identifying, the spatial clusters were drawn samples of cases and controls in each cluster. Mothers were interviewed face-to-face using questionnaires. Air pollution exposure was assessed by passive tubes (NO2 and O3) as well as by the determination of trace elements’ concentration in tree bark. Binary logistic regression models were applied to determine the significance of the risk of premature birth. Later prenatal care, urinary infection, and hypertension were individual risk factors for prematurity. Particles produced by traffic emissions (estimated by tree bark accumulation) and photochemical pollutants involved in the photochemical cycle (estimated by O3 and NO2 passive tubes) also exhibited significant and robust risks for premature births. The results indicate that air pollution is an independent risk factor for prematurity.