Associations between ambient levels of combustion pollutants and small for gestational age infants in Texas

Coty Marie Maypole, The University of Texas School of Public Health


There is scant evidence regarding the associations between ambient levels of combustion pollutants and small for gestational age (SGA) infants. No studies of this type have been completed in the Southern United States. The main objective of the project presented was to determine associations between combustion pollutants and SGA infants in Texas using three different exposure assessments. Birth certificate data that contained information on maternal and infant characteristics were obtained from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TX DSHS). Exposure assessment data for the three aims came from: (1) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), (2) U.S. EPA Air Quality System (AQS), and (3) TX Department of Transportation (DOT), respectively. Multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the associations between combustion pollutants and SGA. For the first study looked at annual estimates of four air toxics at the census tract level in the Greater Houston Area. After controlling for maternal race, maternal education, tobacco use, maternal age, number of prenatal visits, marital status, maternal weight gain, and median census tract income level, adjusted ORs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for exposure to PAHs (per 10 ng/m3), naphthalene (per 10 ng/m3), benzene (per 1 µg/m3), and diesel engine emissions (per 10 µg/m3) were 1.01 (0.97–1.05), 1.00 (0.99–1.01), 1.01 (0.97–1.05), and 1.08 (0.95–1.23) respectively. For the second study looking at Hispanics in El Paso County, AORs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for increases of 5 ng/m3 for the sum of carcinogenic PAHs (Σ c-PAHs), 1 ng/m3 of benzo[a]pyrene, and 100 ng/m3 in naphthalene during the third trimester of pregnancy were 1.02 (0.97–1.07), 1.03 (0.96–1.11), and 1.01 (0.97–1.06), respectively. For the third study using maternal proximity to major roadways as the exposure metric, there was a negative association with increasing distance from a maternal residence to the nearest major roadway (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.94–0.97) per 1000 m); however, once adjusted for covariates this effect was no longer significant (AOR = 0.98; 95% CI = 0.96–1.00). There was no association with distance weighted traffic density (DWTD). This project is the first to look at SGA and combustion pollutants in the Southern United States with three different exposure metrics. Although there was no evidence of associations found between SGA and the air pollutants mentioned in these studies, the results contribute to the body of literature assessing maternal exposure to ambient air pollution and adverse birth outcomes.

Subject Area

Environmental Studies|Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Maypole, Coty Marie, "Associations between ambient levels of combustion pollutants and small for gestational age infants in Texas" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3552566.