Air Pollution Exposure Monitoring among Pregnant Women with and without Asthma

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 7;17(13):4888. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17134888.


Background: We monitored exposure to fine particulates (PM2.5), ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ambient temperature for pregnant women with and without asthma. Methods: Women (n = 40) from the Breathe-Well-Being, Environment, Lifestyle, and Lung Function Study (2015-2018) were enrolled during pregnancy and monitored for 2-4 days. Daily pollutants were measured using personal air monitors, indoor air monitors, and nearest Environmental Protection Agency's stationary monitors based on GPS tracking and home address. Results: Personal-monitor measurements of PM2.5, ozone, and NO2 did not vary by asthma status but exposure profiles significantly differed by assessment methods. EPA stationary monitor-based methods appeared to underestimate PM2.5 and temperature exposure and overestimate ozone and NO2 exposure. Higher indoor-monitored PM2.5 exposures were associated with smoking and the use of gas appliances. The proportion of waking-time during which personal monitors were worn was ~56%. Lower compliance was associated with exercise, smoking, being around a smoker, and the use of a prescription drug. Conclusions: Exposure did not vary by asthma status but was influenced by daily activities and assessment methods. Personal monitors may better capture exposures but non-compliance merits attention. Meanwhile, larger monitoring studies are warranted to further understand exposure profiles and the health effects of air pollution during pregnancy.

Keywords: air pollution; asthma; exposure assessment; monitoring compliance; personal air monitoring; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution
  • Air Pollution, Indoor*
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis*
  • Ozone / analysis*
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Pregnancy


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide