Is air pollution a risk factor for low birth weight in Seoul?

Epidemiology. 2001 Nov;12(6):643-8. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200111000-00011.


Environmental factors contributing to reduced birth weight are of great concern because of the well-known relation of birth weight to infant mortality and adverse effects in later life. We examined the associations between air pollution exposures during pregnancy and low birth weight among all full-term births (gestational age 37-44 weeks) for a 2-year period (January 1996 through December 1997) in Seoul, South Korea. We evaluated these associations with a generalized additive logistic regression adjusting for gestational age, maternal age, parental educational level, parity, and infant sex. We used smoothing plots with generalized additive models to analyze the exposure-response relation for each air pollutant. The adjusted relative risk of low birth weight was 1.08 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04-1.12] for each interquartile increase for carbon monoxide concentrations during the first trimester of pregnancy. The relative risks were 1.07 (95% CI = 1.03-1.11) for nitrogen dioxide, 1.06 (95% CI = 1.02-1.10) for sulfur dioxide, and 1.04 (95% CI = 1.00-1.08) for total suspended particles also for interquartile increase in exposure. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and total suspended particle concentrations in the first trimester of pregnancy period are risk factors for low birth weight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Carbon Monoxide / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Sulfur Dioxide / adverse effects


  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide