Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Association of Prenatal Exposure to Ambient and Traffic-Related Air Pollution With Newborn Thyroid Function: Findings From the Children's Health Study.

Authors: Howe, Caitlin G; Eckel, Sandrah P; Habre, Rima; Girguis, Mariam S; Gao, Lu; Lurmann, Frederick W; Gilliland, Frank D; Breton, Carrie V

Published In JAMA Netw Open, (2018 09 07)

Abstract: Thyroid hormones are critical for fetal growth and development. Prenatal particulate matter (PM) air pollution exposure has been associated with altered newborn thyroid function, but other air pollutants have not been evaluated, and critical windows of exposure are unknown.To investigate the association of prenatal exposure to ambient and traffic-related air pollutants with newborn thyroid function and identify critical windows of exposure.This cohort study used data from 2050 participants in the Children's Health Study. Statistical analyses were conducted from 2017 to 2018 using pregnancy and birth data from 1994 to 1997 for a subset of participants recruited from schools in 13 southern California communities in 2002 to 2003 when participants were 5 to 7 years of age. Participants were included in statistical analyses if they could be linked to their newborn blood spot and had complete monthly exposure measures for at least 1 air pollutant across pregnancy.Prenatal monthly averages of ambient (PM diameter <2.5 μm [PM2.5] or <10 μm [PM10], nitrogen dioxide, and ozone) and traffic-related (freeway, nonfreeway, and total nitrogen oxides) air pollutant exposures were determined using inverse distance-squared weighting of central monitoring data and the California Line Source Dispersion model, respectively.Newborn heel-stick blood spot total thyroxine (TT4) measures were acquired retrospectively from the California Department of Public Health.Participants included 2050 newborns (50.5% male), with a median (interquartile range) age of 20 (15-29) hours. The majority of newborns were Hispanic white (1202 [58.6%]) or non-Hispanic white (638 [31.1%]). Sixty-six (3.2%) were black and 144 (7.0%) were from other racial/ethnic groups. The mean (SD) newborn TT4 measure was 16.2 (4.3) μg/dL. A 2-SD increase in prenatal PM2.5 (16.3 μg/m3) and PM10 (22.2 μg/m3) was associated with a 1.2-μg/dL (95% CI, 0.5-1.8 μg/dL) and 1.5-μg/dL (95% CI, 0.9-2.1 μg/dL) higher TT4 measure, respectively, in covariate-adjusted linear regression models. Other pollutants were not consistently associated with newborn TT4. Distributed lag models revealed that PM2.5 exposure during months 3 to 7 of pregnancy and PM10 exposure during months 1 to 8 of pregnancy were associated with significantly higher newborn TT4 concentrations (P < .05).Prenatal PM exposure, particularly in early pregnancy and midpregnancy, is associated with higher newborn TT4 concentrations. Future studies should assess the health implications of PM-associated differences in newborn TT4 concentrations.

PubMed ID: 30646156 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Air Pollutants/analysis; Air Pollution/adverse effects*; Air Pollution/statistics & numerical data; California/epidemiology; Cohort Studies; Environmental Exposure/adverse effects*; Environmental Exposure/statistics & numerical data; Female; Fetal Development; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Male; Particulate Matter/analysis; Pregnancy; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/epidemiology*; Retrospective Studies; Thyroid Function Tests/methods; Thyroid Function Tests/statistics & numerical data; Thyroxine/analysis; Thyroxine/blood

to Top