Thursday, June 25, 2015

How Does Air Pollution affect the Blood Pressure of Babies in the Womb?

Air Pollution and Neonatal Blood Pressure (1 page pdf, Lenie van Rossem, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Steven J. Melly, Itai Kloog, Heike Luttmann-Gibson, Antonella Zanobetti, Brent A. Coull, Joel D. Schwartz, Murray A. Mittleman, Emily Oken, Matthew W. Gillman, Petros Koutrakis, and Diane R. Gold, Environmental Health Perspectives, Apr. 3, 2015)

Today we review research into the impact of air pollutants- both particulate and gaseous- on prenatal blood pressure. Results indicate that particulates (PM2.5) and black carbon do increase systolic blood pressure in the 3rd trimester but not in the second when gaseous pollutants such as Co or NO2 tend to lower it, suggesting different ways that gas or particulate pollution affect the fetus. It is not known if this impact has lasting effects on the baby’s health in later life

 . baby bp  

Key Quotes:

“The study considered potential effects of several air pollutants, including PM2.5, BC (a traffic-related component of particulate pollution), nitrogen oxides, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide”

“The most striking and significant findings are the third-trimester associations between pollutants and newborn blood pressure,”

“increased ozone exposure in the third trimester was associated with lower systolic blood pressure in newborns, whereas exposure in the second trimester was associated with higher blood pressure. Increased estimated exposures to carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxides during the second trimester also were associated with lower newborn systolic blood pressure. One possible explanation for these results is that gaseous pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide may affect blood pressure through a different biological pathway than particulate pollutants."

“I was interested, though not entirely surprised, to find that higher shorter-term as well as ninety-day averaged pollution was associated with higher newborn blood pressure,”

“We just don’t know what an increase in blood pressure of a few mmHg means, if anything, in a newborn… It could indicate that infants are “programmed” before birth to have higher blood pressure later in life…or it could be a short-term effect that lasts only a few days or months after birth, then goes away with no further consequence. Follow-up later in life is needed to determine how the observed associations play out over time.”

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