Associations Between Residential Proximity to Power Plants and Adverse Birth Outcomes
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Few studies have assessed the associations between residential proximity to power plants and adverse birth outcomes including preterm delivery (PTD), very preterm delivery (VPTD), and term low birth weight (LBW). We geocoded 423,719 singleton Florida births born from 2004 to 2005 and all active power plants and determined residential proximity to the nearest power plant for each birth. Prenatal exposure to particulate matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter for women living near different types of power plants was also determined by using National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network data. Logistic regression models were used to test the hypothesized associations. Women who lived closer to coal and solid waste power plants were exposed to higher levels of particulate matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter compared with other types. We observed a 1.8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3, 2.3) increased odds for PTD, 2.2% (95% CI: 1.0, 3.4) for VPTD, and 1.1% (95% CI: 0.2, 2.0) for term LBW for each 5 km closer to any power plant. When stratifying by different fuel type, we found that only solid waste had an association with term LBW, whereas oil, gas, and solid waste all had an association with PTD and VPTD. Results were consistent when exposure was categorized by number of power plants. Our study found evidence of increasing odds of adverse birth outcomes among infants born to pregnant women living closer to power plants. More research is warranted to better understand the causal relationship.
author list (cited authors)
Ha, S., Hu, H., Roth, J., Kan, H., & Xu, X.