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New Study Links Air Pollution To Congenital Effects

First Posted: Dec 22, 2014 01:29 PM EST

Air pollution is a widely studied problem that many officials have examined. For those living in concentrated urban populations, this issue may affect them more than those who live out in the country side. Now, researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered new evidence linking high exposure of air pollution to an increased risk of congenital malformations.

"Our results suggest that exposure to higher levels of air pollution during pregnancy is associated with various adverse pregnancy outcomes," said Prof. Lerner-Geva. "While our study mainly followed SC infants, we also had the opportunity to assess a small sample of pregnancies that were conceived through ART, and observed a higher impact of air pollution -- particularly with regard to ozone exposure. This is clearly a uniquely susceptible population that should be further explored."

For the study, researchers analyzed data on 216,730 people born in Israel between 1997 and 2004. Air pollution, including levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and ozone (O3), were obtained from all monitoring stations during the study period. Researchers analyzed exposure to air pollution during the first trimester and throughout the entire pregnancy.

Findings revealed that exposure to PM10 and NOX pollutants throughout full-term pregnancies was associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations-specifically those related to the circulatory system.

"Considering the worldwide decline in fertility, and the increasing number of children born through ART treatments, our findings about their increased risk of congenital malformations are very relevant," concluded Prof. Lerner-Geva. "It is essential we continue to evaluate this unique population."

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Environmental Research.

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