Composition of fine particulate matter and risk of preterm birth: A nationwide birth cohort study in 336 Chinese cities.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Potential hazards of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) constituents on preterm birth (PTB) have rarely been explored in China.


To quantify the associations of PM2.5 constituents with PTB.


This study was based on a nationwide cohort of 3,723,169 live singleton births delivered between January 2010 and December 2015 in China. We applied satellite-based estimates of 5 PM2.5 constituents (organic carbon; black carbon; sulfate; ammonium; and nitrate). We used Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for individual covariates, temperature, humidity, and seasonality to evaluate the associations.


During the entire pregnancy, each interquartile range (29 μg/m3 ) increase in PM2.5 concentrations was associated with a 7% increase in PTB risk [hazard ratio (HR): 1.07; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07-1.08). We observed the largest effect estimates on carbonaceous components (HR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.08-1.10 for organic carbon and black carbon). Early pregnancy appeared to be the critical exposure window for most constituents. Women who were older, exposed to second-hand smoke, overweight or obese before pregnancy, conceived during winter, and living in northern China or rural areas were more susceptible.


Carbonaceous components of PM2.5 were associated with higher PTB risk. Findings on characteristics of vulnerability underlined targeted protections on susceptible subgroups.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • He, Y; Jiang, Y; Yang, Y; Xu, J; Zhang, Y; Wang, Q; Shen, H; Zhang, Y; Yan, D; Peng, Z; Liu, C; Wang, W; Schikowski, T; Li, H; Yan, B; Ji, JS; Chen, A; van Donkelaar, A; Martin, R; Chen, R; Kan, H; Cai, J; Ma, X

Published Date

  • March 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 425 /

Start / End Page

  • 127645 -

PubMed ID

  • 34920912

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-3336

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0304-3894

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127645


  • eng