Prenatal exposure to ambient ultrafine particles has been linked to the development of asthma in children, new research shows.

A validated spatial-temporal UFP model combined with data from 2 pregnancy cohort studies that comprised a lower income, ethnically diverse urban sample from the northeastern US was used for the analysis. Results of the study were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The researchers sought to use daily UFP exposure estimates to identify suspicious windows of prenatal UFP exposure associated with the development of asthma in children, taking into consideration any sex-specific effects. Study participants included mothers and full-term (≥37 weeks’ gestation) singleton-born children from 2 pregnancy cohorts residing in the relevant catchment area and enrolled within a specific timeframe, within which UFP estimates could be assigned over gestation and 1 year postnatally beginning January 1, 2003.

Mother-child dyads from 2 pregnancy cohorts were enrolled: the Asthma Coalition on Community, Environment and Social Stress (ACCESS) project and the Programming of Intergenerational Stress Mechanisms (PRISM). Participants in the study included 376 mother-child dyads (252 from ACCESS and 124 from PRISM) whose data on UFP exposure and childhood asthma were available.

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