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Indoor Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes Related to Fetal Growth, Miscarriage and Prematurity - A Systematic Review

Publication date: 

1 Jun 2014


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 5904-5933


Frank Kelly; Evridiki Patelarou

Publication type: 



The purpose of this review was to summarize existing epidemiological evidence of the association between quantitative estimates of indoor air pollution and all-day personal exposure with adverse birth outcomes including fetal growth, prematurity and miscarriage. We carried out a systematic literature search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases with the aim of summarizing and evaluating the results of peer-reviewed epidemiological studies undertaken in “westernized” countries that have assessed indoor air pollution and all-day personal exposure with specific quantitative methods. This comprehensive literature search identified 16 independent studies which were deemed relevant for further review and two additional studies were added through searching the reference lists of all included studies. Two reviewers independently and critically appraised all eligible articles using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool. Of the 18 selected studies, 14 adopted a prospective cohort design, three were case-controls and one was a retrospective cohort study. In terms of pollutants of interest, seven studies assessed exposure to electro-magnetic fields, four studies assessed exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, four studies assessed PM2.5 exposure and three studies assessed benzene, phthalates and noise exposure respectively. Furthermore, 12 studies examined infant growth as the main birth outcome of interest, six examined spontaneous abortion and three studies assessed gestational age at birth and preterm delivery. This survey demonstrates that there is insufficient research on the possible association of indoor exposure and early life effects and that further research is needed.