Maternal Exposure to Polluted Air Tied to Elevated Child BP

Overall, 1.61-fold increase in risk of elevated BP for children with highest versus lowest tertile of PM<sub>2.5</sub>
Overall, 1.61-fold increase in risk of elevated BP for children with highest versus lowest tertile of PM2.5

HealthDay News — Exposure to ambient air pollution in the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with increased risk of elevated blood pressure (BP) among offspring, according to a study published online May 14 in Hypertension.

In an effort to examine the correlation between exposure to ambient air pollution and the risk of elevated BP among offspring, Mingyu Zhang, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 1,293 mothers in the Boston Birth Cohort and their children, with follow-up visits between 3 and 9 years of age. Ambient particulate matter ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) concentration was estimated during pregnancy. 

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The researchers found that when third trimester PM2.5 concentration was ≥13µg/m³, there was a sharp increase in offspring systolic blood pressure (SBP) percentile and risk for elevated BP. Compared with the lowest tertile of PM2.5 exposure, the highest tertile of exposure was associated with a 4.85 percentile increase in child SBP and a 1.61-fold increased risk of elevated BP. There was a 1.47-fold increased risk of elevated BP in association with a 5 µg/m³ increase in PM2.5 during the third trimester.

"Maternal exposure to ambient PM2.5 during the third trimester is associated with elevated BP in children aged 3 to 9 years," the authors write.

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