In-Utero Exposure to Ambient Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Child Mortality: Pooled Evidence From 43 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Nihit Goyal, National University of Singapore
Mahesh Karra, Boston University
David Canning , Harvard University

Many low- and middle-income countries are experiencing high and increasing ambient fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5). We directly estimate the association between child mortality and exposure to PM2.5, both overall and by PM2.5 source. We pool data of over 500 000 children from 69 nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys and calculate in-utero exposure to ambient PM2.5 using high resolution satellite data that is matched to the child’s place of residence. Exposure to dust and sea-salt particulates has little effect, while exposure to other (mainly anthropogenic, carbonaceous) particulates is associated with increased odds of neonatal mortality even at levels as low as 3.4 µg/m, with exposure above the median level raising the odds of neonatal mortality by over one third. Our results suggest the need to change the WHO recommendation to limit overall PM2.5 exposure to below 10 µg/m, for a much lower limit for focused harmful, carbonaceous, PM2.5.

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 Presented in Session 176. Pollution and Birth Outcomes