Prenatal, early-life, and childhood exposure to air pollution and lung function: The alspac cohort

Yutong Cai, Anna L. Hansell, Raquel Granell, Marta Blangiardo, Mariagrazia Zottoli, Daniela Fecht, John Gulliver, A. John Henderson, Paul Elliott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Exposure to air pollution during intrauterine development and through childhood may have lasting effects on respiratory health. Objectives: To investigate lung function at ages 8 and 15 years in relation to air pollution exposures during pregnancy, infancy, and childhood in a UK population-based birth cohort. Methods: Individual exposures to source-specific particulate matter 10 mm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) during each trimester, 0-6 months, 7-12 months (1990-1993), and up to age 15 years (1991-2008) were examined in relation to FEV1% predicted and FVC% predicted at ages 8 (n = 5,276) and 15 (n = 3,446) years using linear regression models adjusted for potential confounders. A profile regression model was used to identify sensitive time periods. Measurements and Main Results:We did not find clear evidence of a sensitive exposure period for PM10 from road traffic. At age 8 years, 1 mg/m3 higher exposure during the first trimester was associated with lower FEV1% predicted (20.826; 95% confidence interval [CI], 21.357 to 20.296) and FVC% predicted (20.817; 95% CI, 21.357 to 20.276), but similar associations were seen for exposures for other trimesters, 0-6 months, 7-12 months, and 0-7 years. Associations were stronger among boys, as well as children whose mother had a lower education level or smoked during pregnancy. For PM10 from all sources, the third trimester was associated with lower FVC% predicted (21.312; 95% CI, 22.100 to 20.525). At age 15 years, no adverse associations with lung function were seen. Conclusions: Exposure to road-Traffic PM10 during pregnancy may result insmall but significant reductions in lung function at age 8 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) (grant number G0700920). The UK MRC and Wellcome Trust (grant number 102215/2/13/2) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. The MRC Centre for Environment and Health is funded by the UK MRC (grant number MR/S019669/1). Y.C. was supported by an MRC Early-Career Research Fellowship awarded through the MRC Centre for Environment and Health (grant number MR/M501669/1). This article was completed with support from the PEAK Urban program, funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenge Research Fund (grant number ES/P011055/1). P.E. received funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Health Impact of Environmental Hazards (HPRU-2012-10141), and the UK Dementia Research Institute supported by UK DRI Ltd., which is funded by the UK MRC, Alzheimer’s Society, and Alzheimer’s Research UK. P.E. is associate director of Health Data Research UK-London, which receives funding from a consortium led by the UK MRC. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health, the National Health Service, or the NIHR.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Thoracic Society. All rights reserved.


  • Air Pollution
  • Children
  • Respiratory Health
  • Traffic


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