Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mothers’ exposure to air pollutants linked to chromosome damage in babies

16.02.2005


A new study of 60 newborns in New York City reveals that exposure of expectant mothers to combustion-related urban air pollution may alter the structure of babies’ chromosomes while in the womb. While previous experiments have linked such genetic alterations to an increased risk of leukemia and other cancers, much larger studies would be required to determine the precise increase in risk as these children reach adulthood.



The air pollutants considered in this study include emissions from cars, trucks, bus engines, residential heating, power generation and tobacco smoking. These pollutants can cross the placenta and reach the fetus.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other private foundations. The research was conducted by scientists from the Columbia University Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Study results will be published in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, and are available online at http://cebp.aacrjournals.org. "This is the first study to show that environmental exposures to specific combustion pollutants during pregnancy can result in chromosomal abnormalities in fetal tissues," said Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., the director of NIEHS. "These findings may lead to new approaches for the prevention of certain cancers."


Researchers monitored exposure to airborne pollutants, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), among non-smoking African-American and Dominican mothers residing in three low-income neighborhoods of New York City -- Harlem, Washington Heights and the South Bronx. "Although the study was conducted in Manhattan neighborhoods, exhaust pollutants are prevalent in all urban areas, and therefore the study results are relevant to populations in other urban areas," said Dr. Frederica P. Perera, director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health and senior author of the study.

Exposure to combustion pollutants was assessed through personal questionnaires and portable air monitors worn by the mothers during the third trimester of their pregnancies. Researchers then calculated the concentration of air pollution to which each pregnant woman and her baby were exposed. Study participants exposed to air pollution levels below the average were designated as having "low exposure," while those exposed to pollution levels above the average were designated as having "high exposure."

"We observed 4.7 chromosome abnormalities per thousand white blood cells in newborns from mothers in the low exposure group, and 7.2 abnormalities per thousand white blood cells in newborns from the high exposure mothers," said Perera. "In particular, stable alterations were increased, which are of greatest concern for potential risk of cancer, since cells with this type of abnormality can persist in the body for long periods of time."

Chromosomal abnormalities were measured in umbilical cord blood by a "chromosome painting" technique called fluorescence in situ hybridization, one that enabled researchers to observe the structural changes within the chromosome. Chromosomes are the threadlike packages in the nucleus of the cell that contain the cell’s genetic information. "This evidence that air pollutants can alter chromosomes in utero is troubling since other studies have validated this type of genetic alteration as a biomarker of cancer risk," said Perera. "While we can’t estimate the precise increase in cancer risk, these findings underscore the need for policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels to take appropriate steps to protect children from these avoidable exposures."

Previous studies conducted by Perera and colleagues showed that combustion-related air pollutants significantly reduce fetal growth, which may affect cognitive development during childhood.

The study is part of a broader, multi-year research project, "The Mothers & Children Study in New York City," started in 1998, which examines the health effects of exposure of pregnant women and babies to air pollutants from vehicle exhaust, the commercial burning of fuels, and tobacco smoking, as well as from residential use of pesticides and allergens.

John Peterson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>