Air Pollution Levels Outside the Capital's Maternity Hospitals

Ir Med J. 2022 Sep 15;115(8):650.


Introduction The World Health Organisation has identified air pollution as the single biggest environmental threat to human health. There is growing evidence in the literature that air pollution is associated with negative outcomes in pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to measure pollution levels in the immediate surroundings of the three Dublin maternity hospitals by measuring fine particulate matter <2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). Methods Data pertaining to levels of PM2.5 at the three Dublin maternity hospitals were obtained from Pollutrack's records for the time period 25/6/2021-2/12/2021. Results were compared to the 2021 WHO Air Quality Guidelines. Results Average PM2.5 levels were 9μg/m³ around the National Maternity Hospital, 10μg/m³ around the Coombe Hospital and 13μg/m³ around the Rotunda Hospital. Levels were higher during the day, weekdays and in December. No matter when the PM2.5 levels were measured, results were higher than those recommended by the World Health Organisation's Air Quality Guideline. Discussion Air pollution levels across Ireland's capital city are higher than recommended by the WHO. This is concerning for the public and in particular for the pregnant population. Going forward, further research is required on the relationship between levels of air pollutants and adverse pregnancy outcomes in Dublin.

Keywords: Air pollution; environmental health; obstetrics; obstetrics and gynaecology; planetary health; pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Maternity
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome


  • Particulate Matter
  • Air Pollutants