Traffic-related Air Pollution and Pregnancy Loss

Marianthi Anna Kioumourtzoglou*, Raanan Raz, Ander Wilson, Ronen Fluss, Ronit Nirel, David M. Broday, Yuval, Michele R. Hacker, Thomas F. McElrath, Itamar Grotto, Petros Koutrakis, Marc G. Weisskopf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Traffic-related air pollution has been linked to multiple adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, few studies have examined pregnancy loss, targeting losses identified by hospital records, a large limitation as it does not capture events not reported to the medical system. Methods: We used a novel variation of the time-series design to determine the association, and identify the critical window of vulnerability, between week-to-week traffic-related air pollution and conceptions resulting in live births, using nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as a traffic emissions tracer. We used information from all live births recorded at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA (2000-2013) and all live births in Tel Aviv District, Israel (2010-2013). Results: In Boston (68,969 live births), the strongest association was during the 15th week of gestation; for every 10 ppb of NO2 increase during that week, we observed a lower rate of live births (rate ratio [RR] = 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78, 0.97), using live birth-identified conceptions to infer pregnancy losses. In the Tel Aviv District (95,053 live births), the strongest estimate was during the 16th gestational week gestation (RR = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.76, 0.90 per 10 ppb of NO2). Conclusions: Using weekly conceptions ending in live birth rather than identified pregnancy losses, we comprehensively analyzed the relationship between air pollution and all pregnancy loss throughout gestation. The observed results, with remarkable similarity in two independent locations, suggest that higher traffic-related air pollution levels are associated with pregnancy loss, with strongest estimates between the 10th and 20th gestational weeks.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4-10
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work grew out of work related to specific aims #1 & 2 of Grant R21 ES026900 to Dr. Weisskopf from NIEHS. This work was also supported by Grants T32 ES007069, P30 ES000002, and P30 ES009089 from NIEHS. This publication was partially made possible by USEPA Grant RD-835872. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USEPA. Further, USEPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in the publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Air pollution
  • Miscarriage
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Traffic


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