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Exposure to air pollution during the first 1000 days of life and subsequent health service and medication usage in children


Shao, J and Zosky, GR and Wheeler, AJ and Dharmage, S and Dalton, M and Williamson, GJ and O'Sullivan, T and Chappell, K and Knibbs, LD and Johnston, FH, Exposure to air pollution during the first 1000 days of life and subsequent health service and medication usage in children, Environmental Pollution pp. 1-8. ISSN 0269-7491 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113340


Background: Evidence of health effects following early life exposure to short-to-medium duration of high pollution levels is extremely limited.

Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the associations between: 1. intrauterine exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from coal mine fire emissions and the frequencies of general practitioner attendances and dispensations of prescribed asthma inhalers, steroid skin creams, and antibiotics during the first year of life; 2. infant exposure and those outcomes during the year following the fire.

Methods: All participants were recruited from the Latrobe Valley of Victoria, Australia. Participants’ 24-h average and hourly peak mine fire-specific PM2.5 exposures from 09/02/2014 to 31/03/2014 were estimated using chemical transport modelling. Outcome data were obtained from the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from each child’s birth to 31/12/2016. We used negative binomial and logistic regression models to independently assess risks of the outcomes associated with every 10 and 100 μg m−3 increase in average or peak PM2.5 exposure, respectively, while adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: We included 286 of 311 children whose parents consented to be linked, comprising 77 with no exposure, 88 with intrauterine exposure and 121 with exposure in infancy. 10- and 100- μg m−3 increases in average and peak PM2.5 exposure during infancy were associated with greater incidence of antibiotics being dispensed during the year following the fire: the adjusted incidence rate ratios were 1.24 (95% CI 1.02, 1.50, p = 0.036) and 1.14 (1.00, 1.31, p = 0.048) respectively. No other significant associations were observed.

Conclusion: Exposure to coal mine fire emissions during infancy was associated with increased dispensing of antibiotics. This could reflect increased childhood infections or increased prescriptions of antibiotics in the year following the fire.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:particulate matter, infant, prenatal exposure, infection, allergy and immunology
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Environmental epidemiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Shao, J (Ms Jingyi Shao)
UTAS Author:Zosky, GR (Professor Graeme Zosky)
UTAS Author:Wheeler, AJ (Dr Amanda Wheeler)
UTAS Author:Dalton, M (Ms Marita Dalton)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:O'Sullivan, T (Miss Tierney O'Sullivan)
UTAS Author:Chappell, K (Ms Katherine Chappell)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:135418
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (1116412)
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2019-10-18
Last Modified:2019-11-06

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