Trimester effects of source-specific PM 10 on birth weight outcomes in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)

Chen Yingxin, Susan hodgson, John Gulliver, Raquel Granell, A J W Henderson, Yutong Cai, Anna L Hansell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Evidence suggests that exposure to particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 10 μm (PM10) is associated with reduced birth weight, but information is limited on the sources of PM10 and exposure misclassification from assigning exposures to place of residence at birth.

Trimester and source-specific PM10 exposures (PM10 from road source, local non-road source, and total source) in pregnancy were estimated using dispersion models and a full maternal residential history for 12,020 births from the Avon longitudinal study of parents and children (ALSPAC) cohort in 1990–1992 in the Bristol area. Information on birth outcomes were obtained from birth records. Maternal sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were obtained from questionnaires. We used linear regression models for continuous outcomes (birth weight, head circumference (HC), and birth length (BL) and logistic regression models for binary outcomes (preterm birth (PTB), term low birth weight (TLBW) and small for gestational age (SGA)). Sensitivity analysis was performed using multiple imputation for missing covariate data.

After adjustment, interquartile range increases in source specific PM10 from traffic were associated with 17 to 18% increased odds of TLBW in all pregnancy periods. We also found odds of TLBW increased by 40% (OR: 1.40, 95%CI: 1.12, 1.75) and odds of SGA increased by 18% (OR: 1.18, 95%CI: 1.05, 1.32) per IQR (6.54 μg/m3) increase of total PM10 exposure in the third trimester.

This study adds to evidence that maternal PM10 exposures affect birth weight, with particular concern in relation to exposures to PM10 from road transport sources; results for total PM10 suggest greatest effect in the third trimester. Effect size estimates relate to exposures in the 1990s and are higher than those for recent studies – this may relate to reduced exposure misclassification through use of full residential history information, changes in air pollution toxicity over time and/or residual confounding.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021

Structured keywords



  • Air pollution
  • Preterm birth
  • birth weight
  • Particulate matter
  • Dispersion modeling
  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental health


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