Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Hamisu M. Salihu


Carbon Monoxide, Low Birth Weight,, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Pollutants, Preterm Birth, Small for Gestational Age


In this retrospective cohort from 2002 through 2007, 104,003 singleton live births in Hillsborough County, Florida were analyzed to elucidate the relationship between feto-infant morbidity outcomes and prenatal exposure to six criteria air pollutants. This study is based on three linked databases: The Florida Hospital Discharge database; The vital statistics records of singleton live births; Air Pollution meteorological data from the Environmental Protection Agency. There are six common air pollutants, particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), particulate matter 10 (PM10), ground-level ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen (NOx), and lead (Pb). These pollutants are harmful to human health and the environment. The primary outcomes of interest were low birth weight (LBW), preterm births, and small for gestational age (SGA). The intent of this project is to address these issues of air pollution effects and the methodology surrounding the study of air pollution.

Using modeling, exposure values of the six criteria air pollutants were assigned to mothers over their period of pregnancy. To address these methodological concerns, this study utilizes the structural equation modeling, quartile groupings with dose response, and trimester groupings to evaluate the relationship between air pollution and birth outcomes of pregnant residents.

Using structural equation modeling a significant B value of 0.35 indicated that exposure to the six criteria pollutant in pregnancy may have a significant relationship to all five birth outcomes if they are broken down into latent variables. Quartile data demonstrated that NOx seemed to have most significant associations with all outcomes with a dose response for SGA. PM10 and PM2.5 had some association to LBW and VLBW at high levels. PM10 demonstrated significance in the higher doses for SGA. However, the only dose response relationship that was demonstrated for PM10 and PM2.5 was in VLBW. PM10 also demonstrated a dose response with very preterm. If sub-divided into trimester data, PM10 demonstrated a significant relationship between exposures in all trimesters and LBW, VLBW, and SGA. PM2.5 demonstrated a significant relationship between exposures in all trimesters and VLBW. CO demonstrated a significant relationship in the 2nd trimester for LBW as well as for SGA.

Mothers and their babies are a vulnerable population who are more susceptible to lower levels of pollution. These air pollutants can possibly have long-term effect on their children. Implantation of laws and regulations, warning system, or more strict EPA standards may be needed to adequately control the cost to our society.