A recent study by Hagai Levine, a professor at the Hadassah Braun School of Public Health at the Hebrew University (HU), showed that air pollution is associated with low birth weight babies. The use of multiple data on high-resolution pollutants resulted in much more accurate statistical analyses than other studies.


According to Levine, "it is now clear that governments need to establish the infrastructure to integrate environmental and health data at the personal level".


Development of the study

The study, which also involved the HU Department of Statistics and Data Science, analyzed the link between an air pollutant known as PM 2.5 and the birth weight of 380,000 babies born in Israel during the years 2004-2015.

Thanks to its fertility rate and high levels of air pollutant PM 2.5, Israel became an ideal place to look for an association between low birth weight and poor air quality. Experts explain that because the model included siblings, it allowed the estimation of variance in low birth weight to be taken into account by variances between different mothers, which led to more accurate estimates. The data used by the research team included: anonymous personal data of mothers, including the area where they lived and the weight of their babies at birth; in addition, the daily concentration of air pollutants in each square kilometer of Israel was taken into account, derived from satellite data.

The study clearly showed the association between the level of air pollutant PM 2.5 and low birth weight. It also revealed that low-weight mothers and mothers of lower socioeconomic status were more vulnerable to exposure to air pollution. In addition, the study found that the association with air pollution was stronger among girls and early births, a fact believed to be due to a biological mechanism that has not yet been identified.


Learn more: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935122003012?via%3Dihub