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Prenatal Exposure to Ultrafine Particles Tied to Child Asthma

Last Updated: June 11, 2021.

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal ultrafine particle (UFP; <0.1 µm) exposure is associated with asthma development in children, according to a study published online May 20 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Rosalind J. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues used daily UFP exposure estimates to identify susceptible windows of prenatal UFP exposure with asthma in children among 376 mother-child dyads followed since pregnancy.

Of the children, 18.4 percent developed asthma. The researchers found that the cumulative odds ratio for incident asthma was 4.28 per doubling of UFP exposure level across pregnancy, with a similar impact on males and females. Sex differences in the sensitive windows were indicated by Bayesian distributed lag interaction models, with the highest risk for asthma observed in females exposed to higher levels of UFPs during late pregnancy.

"This research is an important early step in building the evidence base that can lead to better monitoring of exposure to ultrafine particles in the United States and ultimately to regulation. As we advance methods for measuring these tiny particles, we hope for replication of these findings, both within different geographic areas across the United States as well as globally," Wright said in a statement. "Childhood asthma remains a global epidemic that is likely to grow with the anticipated rise in particulate air pollution exposures due to effects of climate change."

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