OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore evidence for the influence of air pollution on the risk of birth defects in China and contribute to establish prevention strategies.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study in Anqing city, Eastern China, from 2010 to 2012. Binary logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) per 10 μg/m3 change for SO2, NO2, and PM10.
RESULTS: For continuous exposure to SO2 (10 μg/m increase), the adjusted OR for birth defects is 1.20 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.09 to 1.29] in the preconception. A 10 μg/m increase in SO2 (adjusted OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.36) during the second trimester is strongly associated with birth defects. No associations have been observed for NO2 and PM10.
CONCLUSION: The results suggested that exposure to ambient SO2 during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects.