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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Florida Investigates the Association of Air Pollution and Risk of Birth Defects

High levels of fine particulate air pollutants are associated with several select congenital heart defects and the highest level of benzene links to increased prevalence of orofacial clefts, a new USF College of Public Health study found. The clinical significance of the environmental factors in the risk for birth defects requires more study, however, because several defects showed no link to these pollutants.

The COPH USF researchers used data from the Florida Birth Defects Registry and air pollution monitoring data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Quality System to examine how maternal exposure to air pollutants benzene and PM2.5 affects the risk of birth defects. Their study, “Associations between exposure to ambient benzene and PM2.5 during pregnancy and the risk of selected birth defects in offspring,” was published in the July issue of Environmental Research.

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