26 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to air pollution has been demonstrated to increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. We examined whether proximity to major roads (as a marker of exposure to air pollution) is associated with increased placenta/birth weight ratio (as a biomarker of the placental transport function). Data on parental characteristics and birth outcomes were extracted from the database maintained by a major hospital in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. We restricted the analysis to mothers who delivered liveborn single births from 1997 to 2008 (n=14,189). Using geocoded residential information, each birth was classified according to proximity to major roads. We examined the association between proximity to major roads and the placenta/birth weight ratio, using multiple linear regression. Proximity to major roads was associated with higher placenta/birth weight ratio. After adjusting for potential confounders, living within 200. m of a major road increased the ratio by 0.48% (95% CI = 0.15 to 0. 80). In addition, proximity to major roads was associated with lower placenta weight and birth weight. These observed associations were stronger among participants living closer to major roads. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution is associated with higher placenta/birth weight ratio. Impaired placental oxygen and nutrient transport function might be a mechanism for explaining the observed association between air pollution and low birth weight as well as preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-102
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Air pollution
  • Geographic Information System
  • Placenta
  • Placenta/birth weight ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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