Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution and selected causes of postneonatal infant mortality in California

Environ Health Perspect. 2006 May;114(5):786-90. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8484.


Studies suggest that airborne particulate matter (PM) may be associated with postneonatal infant mortality, particularly with respiratory causes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To further explore this issue, we examined the relationship between long-term exposure to fine PM air pollution and postneonatal infant mortality in California. We linked monitoring data for PM<or=2.5 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) to infants born in California in 1999 and 2000 using maternal addresses for mothers who lived within 5 miles of a PM2.5 monitor. We matched each postneonatal infant death to four infants surviving to 1 year of age, by birth weight category and date of birth (within 2 weeks). For each matched set, we calculated exposure as the average PM2.5 concentration over the period of life for the infant who died. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds of postneonatal all-cause, respiratory-related, SIDS, and external-cause (a control category) mortality by exposure to PM2.5, controlling for the matched sets and maternal demographic factors. We matched 788 postneonatal infant deaths to 3,089 infant survivors, with 51 and 120 postneonatal deaths due to respiratory causes and SIDS, respectively. We found an adjusted odds ratio for a 10-microg/m3 increase in PM2.5 of 1.07 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.93-1.24] for overall postneonatal mortality, 2.13 (95% CI, 1.12-4.05) for respiratory-related postneonatal mortality, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.55-1.23) for SIDS, and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.50-1.39) for external causes. The California findings add further evidence of a PM air pollution effect on respiratory-related postneonatal infant mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • California
  • Cause of Death
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Sudden Infant Death


  • Air Pollutants