New study links particulate matter air pollution to premature births

A new study adds to the weight of evidence linking premature births to particulate matter air pollution (PM) – a cautionary note for those who live near highways and other sources PM. This research, by Swedish, British, and American scientists, links almost 1 in 5 premature births to fine PM air pollution.

Research published last year by researchers from NYU and other universities estimates the costs of premature births in the U.S. linked to air pollution at over $4 billion per year, and emphasizes that¬†“considerable health and economic benefits could be achieved through environmental regulatory¬†interventions that reduce PM2.5 exposure in pregnancy.”

The primary sources of PM air pollution in the U.S. are traffic-related air pollution, particularly from diesel engines, burning of biomass, and coal power plants.

Economic costs of premature births

For more information, see the references below.

Millions of premature births could be linked to air pollution, study finds, The Guardian

Preterm birth associated with maternal fine particulate matter exposure: A global, regional and national assessment, Science Direct

Association between local traffic-generated air pollution and preeclampsia and preterm delivery in the south coast air basin of California, National Institutes of Health

Particulate Matter Exposure and Preterm Birth: Estimates of U.S. Attributable Burden and Economic Costs, Environmental Health Perspectives