Residential proximity to major roads and placenta/birth weight ratio

Takashi Yorifuji, Hiroo Naruse, Saori Kashima, Takeshi Murakoshi, Toshihide Tsuda, Hiroyuki Doi, Ichiro Kawachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to air pollution has been demonstrated to increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. We examined whether proximity to major roads (as a marker of exposure to air pollution) is associated with increased placenta/birth weight ratio (as a biomarker of the placental transport function). Data on parental characteristics and birth outcomes were extracted from the database maintained by a major hospital in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. We restricted the analysis to mothers who delivered liveborn single births from 1997 to 2008 (n=14,189). Using geocoded residential information, each birth was classified according to proximity to major roads. We examined the association between proximity to major roads and the placenta/birth weight ratio, using multiple linear regression. Proximity to major roads was associated with higher placenta/birth weight ratio. After adjusting for potential confounders, living within 200. m of a major road increased the ratio by 0.48% (95% CI = 0.15 to 0. 80). In addition, proximity to major roads was associated with lower placenta weight and birth weight. These observed associations were stronger among participants living closer to major roads. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution is associated with higher placenta/birth weight ratio. Impaired placental oxygen and nutrient transport function might be a mechanism for explaining the observed association between air pollution and low birth weight as well as preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-102
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Air pollution
  • Geographic Information System
  • Placenta
  • Placenta/birth weight ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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