Monday, August 1, 2016

Does Air Pollution Cause Premature Birth?

The relationship between PM 2.5 exposure and preterm birth is an unknown, with some studies showing an association and others not. Hoping to get a better handle on the question, researchers from Rhode Island and New York evaluated 258,000 births in New York City using a novel approach that accounted for the precise location in the city of the hospital where the birth took place. However, even while controlling for potential confounders related to birth hospital, they ended up with null and negative results. Either they missed additional important confounders or the relationship is indeed null -- a conclusion that many other reserachers in the field would be eager to dispute. Read more in my latest Science Selection for Environmental Health Perspectives.