All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Nalini Sathiakumar

Advisory Committee Members

Alfred Bartolucci

Mary Blankson

Melinda Lalor

Sreelatha Meleth

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health


Exposure to ambient outdoor air pollution exposure is one of the many extraneous factors associated with preterm births. Many epidemiological studies involving preterm births and ambient air pollution have repeatedly indicated positive associations. However, for many such studies, results may be statistically significant but weakly associated or inconclusive. Such results may be primarily attributable to the fact that most studies include only single or multiple criteria air pollutants but not the total air pollution mixture of criteria air pollutants and air toxic pollutants (e.g., PAHs) to which people are actually exposed. This study assessed associations between pollutant classes, including criteria air pollutants such PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NOX CO, and O3 and air toxic pollutants such as benzene, toluene, lead, and chromium, and preterm delivery in Atlanta, Georgia, during 2003 and 2004. The assessment was accomplished through logistic and Poisson analysis techniques; in these analyses, preterm/full-term birth status and daily number of preterm births, respectively, were regressed against daily pollutant concentrations during one to seven days, one month, and six weeks, and during three months before birth, along with iii important maternal covariates; weather indicators; and time indicators such as day, month, and season. When properly adjusted for a number of associated confounders, the results of this study support the findings that increases in ambient air pollutant exposure concentrations one month before birth for PM2.5, lead, and chromium may be associated with increases in the odds of preterm birth. The results also indicate that the following increases in exposure concentrations may be linked to increased odds of preterm birth: one, two, and five days before birth for chromium; five days before birth for toluene; four days before birth for O3; and three days before birth for CO. The results of the study may contribute to the understanding of the synergistic/cumulative effects of the total air pollutant mixture on preterm births and may underscore the importance of evaluating the effects of the total mixture of pollutants.

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