Is Air Pollution a Risk Factor for Low Birth Weight in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia?


Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) is one of the most air polluted capital cities in the world, with ambient sulfide dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter PM10 and PM 2.5 levels > 23 times World Health Organization (WHO) standards in winter. Several studies have examined the effects of air pollution on pregnancy, providing that exposure to ambient air pollutants is associated with poor birth outcome, such as low birth weight. Our study goal was to study the associations between air pollution exposures during pregnancy and low birth weight among all full-term births (gestational age 37 - 42 weeks) for a 6-year period (January 2008 through December 31, 2013) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In the study we recruited 160,676 singletons. We used a logistic regression adjusting for gestational age, parental education level, parity and infant age. The adjusted relative risk of low birth weight was 1.06 (95% CI = 1.01 - 1.12) for each inter-quartile increase in NO2 concentrations. The risk of low birth weight was increased to 1.04 (95% CI = 0.93 - 1.15) for CO, 1.02 (95% CI 0.97 - 1.05) for SO2 and 1.03 (95% CI 1.01 - 1.08) for PM10. Each inter-quartile increase of NO2 concentration during the first trimester reduced 10.74 gm of birth weight. SO2, CO and PM10 also decreased birth weight 7.62, 7.49, and 8.72 gm, respectively. Each inter-quartile increase of pollutants decreases baby weight up to 11 grams.

Share and Cite:

Dorji, G. , Dayan, A. , Nanjid, K. , Lkhagvaa, U. and Оchir, C. (2014) Is Air Pollution a Risk Factor for Low Birth Weight in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia?. Open Access Library Journal, 1, 1-6. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1100885.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] UNICEF/WHO (2004) Low Birth Weight. Country, Regional and Global Estimates.
[2] Central Intelligence Agency (2012) Field Listing-Birth Rate. The World Fact Book, Central Intelligence Agency.
[3] Mongolian National Statistical Office (2013) Migration and Settlement.
[4] Mongolian National Statistical Office (2013) Population and Housing Census, 2010.
[5] Maisonet, M., Bush, T.J., Correa, A. and Jaakkola, J.J. (2001) Relation between Ambient Air Pollution and Low Birth Weight in the Northeastern United States. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109, 351-356.
[6] Ritz, B. and Yu, F. (1999) The Effect of Ambient Carbon Monoxide on Low Birth Weight among Children Born in Southern California between 1989 and 1993. Environmental Health Perspectives, 107, 17-25.
[7] Pedersen, M., Giorgis-Allemand, L., Bernard, C., Aguilera, I., Andersen, A.M., Ballester, F., Beelen, R.M., Chatzi, L., Cirach, M., Danileviciute, A., Dedele, A., Eijsden, M., Estarlich, M., Fernández-Somoano, A., Fernández, M.F., Forastiere, F., Gehring, U., Grazuleviciene, R., Gruzieva, O., Heude, B., Hoek, G., de Hoogh, K., van den Hooven, E.H., Håberg, S.E., Jaddoe, V.W., Klümper, C., Korek, M., Krämer, U., Lerchundi, A., Lepeule, J., et al. (2013) Ambient Air Pollution and Low Birthweight: A European Cohort Study (ESCAPE). Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 1, 695-704.
[8] Parker, J.D., Woodruff, T.J., Basu, R. and Schoendorf, K.C. (2005) Air Pollution and Birth Weight among Term Infants in California. Pediatrics, 115, 121-128.
[9] Srám, R.J., Binková, B., Rössner, P., Rubes, J., Topinka, J. and Dejmek, J. (1999) Adverse Reproductive Outcomes from Exposure to Environmental Mutagens. Mutation Research, 428, 203-215.
[10] Liu, S., Krewski, D., Shi, Y., Chen, Y. and Burnett, R.T. (2003) Association between Gaseous Ambient Air Pollutants and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Vancouver, Canada. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111, 1773-1778.
[11] Xu, X., Ding, H. and Wang, X.B. (1995) Acute Effects of Total Suspended Particles and Sulfur Dioxides on Preterm Delivery: A Community-Based Cohort Study. Archives of Environmental Health, 50, 407-415.
[12] Brauer, M., Lencar, C., Tamburic, L., Koehoorn, M., Demers, P. and Karr, C. (2008) A Cohort Study of Traffic-Related Air Pollution Impacts on Birth Outcomes. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116, 680-686.
[13] Suh, Y.J., Kim, H., Seo, J.H., Park, H., Kim, Y.J., Hong, Y.C. and Ha, E.H. (2009) Different Effects of PM10 Exposure on Preterm Birth by Gestational Period Estimated from Time-Dependent Survival Analyses. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 82, 613-621.
[14] Llop, S., Ballester, F., Estarlich, M., Esplugues, A., Rebagliato, M. and Iñiguez, C. (2010) Preterm Birth and Exposure to Ambient Air Pollutants during Pregnancy. Environmental Research, 110, 778-785.
[15] Smrcka, V. and Leznarová, D. (1998) Environmental Pollution and the Occurrence of Congenital Defects in a 15-Year Period in a South Moravian District. Acta Chirurgiae Plasticae, 40, 112-114.
[16] Rankin, J., Chadwick, T., Natarajan, M., Howel, D., Pearce, M.S. and Pless-Mulloli, T. (2009) Maternal Exposure to Ambient Air Pollutants and Risk of Congenital Anomalies. Environmental Research, 109, 181-187.
[17] Dadvand, P., Rankin, J., Rushton, S. and Pless-Mulloli, T. (2011) Ambient Air Pollution and Congenital Heart Disease: A Register-Based Study. Environmental Research, 111, 435-441.
[18] Dadvand, P., Figueras, F., Basagaña, X., Beelen, R., Martinez, D., Cirach, M., Cirach, M., Schembari, A., Hoek, G., Brunekreef, B. and Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. (2013) Ambient Air Pollution and Preeclampsia: A Spatiotemporal Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121, 1365-1371.
[19] Goldenberg, R.L. and Culhane, J.F. (2007) Low Birth Weight in the United States. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85, 584S-590S.
[20] Hastie, T. and Tibshirani, R. (1990) Generalized Additive Models. Chapman and Hall, London.
[21] Shwartz, J. (2000) The Distributed Lag between Air Pollution and Daily Deaths. Epidemiology, 11, 320-326.
[22] Wang, X., Ding, H., Ryan, L. and Xu, X. (1997) Association between Air Pollution and Low Birth Weight: A Community Based Study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 105, 514-520.
[23] Rogers, J.F., Thompson, S.J., Addy, C.L., McKeown, R.E., Cowen, D.J. and Decouflé, P. (2000) Association of Very Low Birth Weight with Exposures to Environmental Sulfur Dioxide and Total Suspended Particulates. American Journal of Epidemiology, 151, 602-613.
[24] Dejmek, J., Selevan, S.J., Benes, I., Solansky, I. and Srám, R.J. (1999) Fetal Growth and Maternal Exposure to Particulate Matter during Pregnancy. Environmental Health Perspectives, 107, 475-480.
[25] Ritz, B. and Yu, F. (1999) The Effect of Ambient Air Carbon Monoxide on Low Birth Weight among Children Born in Southern California between 1989-1993. Environmental Health Perspectives, 107, 17-25.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.