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Air pollution may be tied to preterm births

Pregnant women who are exposed to low levels of air pollution seem to have an increased risk of giving birth before term, Australian researchers report.
Researchers from the University of Queensland, Brisbane studied data on 28,200 live births in Brisbane for the period of July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2003.

There were a total of 1583 preterm births (5.6%), defined as gestation of less than 37 weeks, the researchers report in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM10) during the first trimester was associated with a 15% increased risk of preterm birth. Exposure to ozone was linked to a 26% increased risk.

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