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Prenatal, early-life and childhood exposure to air pollution and lung function: the ALSPAC cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Yutong Cai
  • Anna L Hansell
  • Raquel Granell
  • Marta Blangiardo
  • Mariagrazia Zottoli
  • Daniela Fecht
  • John Gulliver
  • A John Henderson
  • Paul Elliott
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Early online date6 Mar 2020
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Mar 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 6 Mar 2020


Rationale: Exposure to air pollution during intrauterine development and through childhood may have lasting effects on respiratory health.

Objectives: To investigate lung function at ages 8 and 15 years in relation to air pollution exposures during pregnancy, infancy and childhood in a UK population-based birth cohort.

Methods: Individual exposures to source-specific particulate matter with diameter ≤10µm (PM10) during each trimester, 0-6 months, 7-12 months (1990-1993) and up to age 15 years (1991-2008) were examined in relation to %predicted Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) at ages 8(N=5,276) and 15(N=3,446) years, usinglinear regression models adjusted for potential confounders. A profile regression model was used to identify sensitive time periods.

Measurements and Main Results: We did not find clear evidence for a sensitive exposure period for PM10 from road-traffic: at age 8 years, 1µg/m3 higher exposure during the first trimester was associated with lower %predicted of FEV1(-0.826, 95%CI:-1.357 to -0.296) and FVC(-0.817, 95%CI:-1.357 to -0.276), but similar associations were seen for exposures for other trimesters, 0-6 months, 7-12 months, and 0-7 years. Associations were stronger among boys, children whose mother had a lower education level or smoked during pregnancy. For PM10 from all sources, the third trimester was associated with lower %predicted of FVC (-1.312, 95%CI: -2.100 to -0.525). At age 15 years, no adverse associations were seen with lung function.

Conclusions: Exposure to road-traffic PM10 during pregnancy may result in small but significant reductions in lung function at age 8 years.

    Structured keywords


    Research areas

  • air pollution, children, lung function, ALSPAC, traffic



  • Full-text PDF (author’s accepted manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via American Thoracic Society at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Embargo ends: 6/03/21

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  • Supplementary information PDF

    Accepted author manuscript, 832 KB, PDF document

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