Differences in Birth Weight Associated with the 2008 Beijing Olympics Air Pollution Reduction: Results from a Natural Experiment

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Environ Health Perspect, Vol: 123, Issue: 9

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Rich, D. Q.; Liu, K.; Zhang, J.; Thurston, S. W.; Stevens, T. P.; Pan, Y.; Kane, C.; Weinberger, B.; Ohman-Strickland, P.; +3 additional authors
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BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reported decreased birth weight associated with increased air pollutant concentrations during pregnancy. However, it is not clear when during pregnancy increases in air pollution are associated with the largest differences in birth weight. OBJECTIVES: Using the natural experiment of air pollution declines during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we evaluated whether having specific months of pregnancy (i.e., 1st...8th) during the 2008 Olympics period was associated with larger birth weights, compared with pregnancies during the same dates in 2007 or 2009. METHODS: Using n = 83,672 term births to mothers residing in four urban districts of Beijing, we estimated the difference in birth weight associated with having individual months of pregnancy during the 2008 Olympics (8 August-24 September 2008) compared with the same dates in 2007 and 2009. We also estimated the difference in birth weight associated with interquartile range (IQR) increases in mean ambient particulate matter