Further research is needed to inform new policy initiatives to reduce the burden of developmental impairment in children. We propose to extend and enrich a molecular epidemiologic prospective cohort study launched in 2000 to assess the longer-term neurobehavioral effects of prenatal exposure to PAHs in children. PAHs are ubiquitous in urban air from combustion of fossil fuel. The study population is unique, comprising more than 400 Caucasian mothers and children residing in Krakow, Poland who have been followed since pregnancy. Follow-up of the cohort is required because we have observed significant adverse effects of prenatal exposures to PAHs on child development among children followed through age 5. We have also observed marked inter-individual variation in response to the same levels of exposure, indicating susceptibility due to genetic or nutritional factors. Because the retention rate in this cohort has been high, we are readily able to extend the study through school age (age 9), allowing us to diagnose neurodevelopmental problems that may ultimately impact learning and academic performance. Our primary aim is to determine the effect of prenatal exposures to airborne PAHs on neurobehavioral development from birth through age 9 years of age, after controlling for the effects of postnatal PAH exposure, known determinants of child development, and potential confounders. Our secondary aims will be to explore the modifying roles of a) genetic polymorphisms in metabolic activation and detoxification genes and b) lipid- soluble micronutrient concentrations in cord and maternal blood on the associations between prenatal PAH exposure and neurobehavioral development through age 9 years. We will also compare results from this cohort study in Caucasians with those from African Americans and Dominicans in our parallel study being conducted in New York City. There are few such comprehensive cohort studies beginning in pregnancy that can provide needed policy-relevant information on neurodevelopmental risks from common urban pollutants. We anticipate that this study will provide a sound evidence-base not only on air pollution exposures, but also on susceptibility factors which may contribute to the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Public Health Relevance

Rates of developmental disorders have increased in children over the past decade and prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been implicated. The results of this cohort study will address a major gap in knowledge. The exposures we are studying are not unique to Poland but are ubiquitous worldwide;our results will thus be generalizable to other geographic and ethnic populations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
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Infectious Diseases, Reproductive Health, Asthma and Pulmonary Conditions Study Section (IRAP)
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Gray, Kimberly A
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
New York
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Jedrychowski, Wiesław A; Perera, Frederica P; Majewska, Renata et al. (2015) Depressed height gain of children associated with intrauterine exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heavy metals: the cohort prospective study. Environ Res 136:141-7
Mueller, N T; Whyatt, R; Hoepner, L et al. (2015) Prenatal exposure to antibiotics, cesarean section and risk of childhood obesity. Int J Obes (Lond) 39:665-70
Jedrychowski, Wieslaw A; Perera, Frederica P; Maugeri, Umberto et al. (2015) Antihistamine medication may alleviate negative effects of prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) on lung function in children. Birth cohort prospective study. Pediatr Pulmonol 50:469-78
Mrozek-Budzyn, Dorota; Majewska, Renata; Kiełtyka, Agnieszka (2015) Early exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines and children's cognitive development. A 9-year prospective birth cohort study in Poland. Eur J Pediatr 174:383-91
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Jedrychowski, Wieslaw A; Perera, Frederica P; Majewska, Renata et al. (2014) Separate and joint effects of tranplacental and postnatal inhalatory exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: prospective birth cohort study on wheezing events. Pediatr Pulmonol 49:162-72
Mrozek-Budzyn, Dorota; Kiełtyka, Agnieszka; Majewska, Renata et al. (2013) Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination has no effect on cognitive development in children - the results of the Polish prospective cohort study. Vaccine 31:2551-7

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