Traffic-related air and noise pollution may increase the risk for cardiovascular disorders, especially among susceptible populations like pregnant women. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of exposure to traffic-related air pollution and traffic noise with blood pressure in pregnant women. We extracted systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) at ≥20 weeks gestation, as well as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy from medical records in the HOME Study, a prospective pregnancy and birth cohort from Cincinnati, OH (n = 370). We estimated exposure to elemental carbon attributable to traffic (ECAT),1 a marker of traffic-related air pollution, at women's residences at ~20 weeks gestation using a validated land use regression model and traffic noise using a publicly available transportation noise model. We used linear mixed models and modified Poisson regression adjusted for covariates to examine associations of ECAT and traffic noise with blood pressure and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy risk, respectively. In adjusted models, we found a 1.6 (95% CI = 0.02, 3.3; p = 0.048) mm Hg increase in SBP associated with an interquartile range increase in ECAT concentration; the association was stronger after adjusting for traffic noise (1.9 mm Hg, 95% = 0.1, 3.7; p = 0.035). ECAT concentrations were not significantly associated with DBP or hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and traffic noise was not associated with SBP, DBP, or hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. There was no evidence of a joint effect of traffic noise and ECAT on any outcome. In this cohort, higher residential traffic-related air pollution exposure at ~20 weeks gestation was associated with higher SBP in late pregnancy. It is important for future studies of traffic-related air or noise pollution to jointly consider both exposures and neighborhood characteristics given their correlation and potential cumulative impact on cardiovascular health.
Keywords: Air pollution; Hypertension; Maternal blood pressure; Noise; Traffic.
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