Prenatal nitrate air pollution exposure and reduced child lung function: Timing and fetal sex effects

Sonali Bose, Maria José Rosa, Yueh Hsiu Mathilda Chiu, Hsiao Hsien Leon Hsu, Qian Di, Alison Lee, Itai Kloog, Ander Wilson, Joel Schwartz, Robert O. Wright, Wayne J. Morgan, Brent A. Coull, Rosalind J. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Prenatal particulate air pollution exposure may alter lung growth and development in utero in a time-sensitive and sex-specific manner, resulting in reduced lung function in childhood. Such relationships have not been examined for nitrate (NO3-). Methods: We implemented Bayesian distributed lag interaction models (BDLIMs) to identify sensitive prenatal windows for the influence of NO3- on lung function at age 7 years, assessing effect modification by fetal sex. Analyses included 191 mother-child dyads. Daily ambient NO3- exposure over pregnancy was estimated using a hybrid chemical transport (Geos-Chem)/land-use regression model. Spirometry was performed at mean (SD) age of 6.99 (0.89) years, with forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) z-scores accounting for child age, sex, height and race/ethnicity. Results: Most mothers were Hispanic (65%) or Black (22%), had ≤ high school education (67%), and never smoked (71%); 17% children had asthma. BDILMs adjusted for maternal age and education and child's asthma identified an early sensitive window of 6–12 weeks gestation, during which increased NO3- was significantly associated with reduced FEV1 z-scores specifically among boys. BDLIM analyses demonstrated similar sex-specific patterns for FVC. Conclusion: Early gestational NO3- exposure is associated with reduced child lung function, especially in boys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-597
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Air pollution
  • Child
  • Lung function
  • Nitrate
  • Prenatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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