""""""""Exposures to Air Pollutants and Risk Of Birth Defects"""""""" - Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the US. Our proposed Formative Center's research efforts, will enhance scientific understanding of the potential environmental etiologies of birth defects, which will undoubtedly have important implications for risk assessment and prevention of these common, costly, and often deadly outcomes of pregnancy. In this project (Project 2) we propose to conduct a rigorous population-based epidemiologic study that targets 30 different birth defects.
Our research aim specifically proposes to determine whether exposures to specific air pollutants and mixtures of air pollutants, during critical periods of fetal organogenesis, are associated with women delivering infants/fetuses with structural birth defects. In this project we will use data from the largest case-control study conducted to date in the US on birth defects - the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. We will limit our inquiries to the California study site which is being conducted in the San Joaquin Valley - an area with demonstrated poor air quality. To these data, we will provide a much more detailed and specific test of our hypothesis with refined exposure data pertaining to high anibient air pollution. The etiologies of most structural birth defects are unknown. There have been a few observations that point toward ambient air pollutants as risk factors for human birth defects. However, this important public health hypothesis has been under studied owing to the lack of good exposure and outcome data. Thus, Project 2 uniquely fills an important gap in our understanding pf the role of environmental exposure on the risk of human birth defects.

Public Health Relevance

Birth defects are a global problem that affect -6% of births worldwide. In the U.S. birth defects are the leading cause of pediatric hospitalizations, medical expenditures, and death in this first year of life. Globally, at least 3.3 million children <5 years die each year because of a birth defect. Indeed, birth defects are one of, if not the leading healthcare concern for the youngest members of society.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LKB-G (P2))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Berkeley
United States
Zip Code
Lee, Eunice Y; Lin, Jue; Noth, Elizabeth M et al. (2017) Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Telomere Length in Children and Adolescents Living in Fresno, CA: A Pilot Study. J Occup Environ Med 59:446-452
Padula, Amy M; Yang, Wei; Carmichael, Suzan L et al. (2017) Air pollution, neighborhood acculturation factors, and neural tube defects among Hispanic women in California. Birth Defects Res 109:403-422
Noth, Elizabeth M; Lurmann, Fred; Northcross, Amanda et al. (2016) Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Elemental Carbon in Bakersfield, California. Air Qual Atmos Health 9:899-908
Hew, K M; Walker, A I; Kohli, A et al. (2015) Childhood exposure to ambient polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is linked to epigenetic modifications and impaired systemic immunity in T cells. Clin Exp Allergy 45:238-48
Cossi, Malin; Zuta, Shkelqime; Padula, Amy M et al. (2015) Role of infant sex in the association between air pollution and preterm birth. Ann Epidemiol 25:874-6
Padula, Amy M; Balmes, John R; Eisen, Ellen A et al. (2015) Ambient polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and pulmonary function in children. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 25:295-302
Padula, Amy M; Yang, Wei; Carmichael, Suzan L et al. (2015) Air Pollution, Neighbourhood Socioeconomic Factors, and Neural Tube Defects in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 29:536-45
Padula, Amy M; Mortimer, Kathleen M; Tager, Ira B et al. (2014) Traffic-related air pollution and risk of preterm birth in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Ann Epidemiol 24:888-95e4
Padula, Amy M; Noth, Elizabeth M; Hammond, S Katharine et al. (2014) Exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during pregnancy and risk of preterm birth. Environ Res 135:221-6
Syed, Aleena; Garcia, Marco A; Lyu, Shu-Chen et al. (2014) Peanut oral immunotherapy results in increased antigen-induced regulatory T-cell function and hypomethylation of forkhead box protein 3 (FOXP3). J Allergy Clin Immunol 133:500-10

Showing the most recent 10 out of 18 publications