Maternal urinary 2-hydroxynaphthalene and birth outcomes in Taiyuan, China

Nie, Jisheng; Li, Jinyu; Cheng, Lin; Li, Yanning; Deng, Yunjun; Yan, Zhiwei; Duan, Lei; Niu, Qiao; Perera, Frederica; Tang, Deliang

Naphthalene is the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). It is easily emitted into the atmosphere, posing a significant risk to human health. However, limited studies have described the impact of naphthalene exposure on birth outcomes. In this study, we investigated the association between the maternal urinary metabolites of naphthalene, 2-hydroxynaphthalene (2-OH NAP), and birth outcomes.

In the present study, four urinary PAH metabolites were measured in 263 pregnant women during late pregnancy. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to analyze the relationship between the concentrations of 2-OH NAP and birth outcomes, and restricted cubic spline models were further used to examine the shapes of the dose-response association.

General linear models showed that prenatal urinary 2-OH NAP was associated with lower birth weight (BW) (− 4.38% for the high vs. low exposure group of 2-OH NAP; p for trend = 0.049) and higher cephalization index (CI) (4.30% for the high vs. low exposure group of 2-OH NAP; p for trend = 0.038). These associations were linear and significant when 2-OH NAP was modeled as a continuous variable in restricted cubic spline models (P linear = 0.0293 for 2-OH NAP and BW; P linear = 0.0326 for 2-OH NAP and CI). Multiple linear regression data indicated that each 1 ln-unit increase in 2-OH NAP was significantly associated with a 2.09 g/cm increase in the CI. The associations among 2-OH NAP, BW, and CI were also observed in a subset of participants residing close to arterial traffic.

Our data indicated that prenatal exposure to naphthalene had an adverse effect on fetal birth outcomes, especially the brain development index. Reduced exposure to naphthalene may improve newborn health outcomes. In Taiyuan, naphthalene may result from traffic pollution.


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Environmental Health

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Academic Units
Environmental Health Sciences
Published Here
March 26, 2019


Naphthalene, 2-hydroxynaphthalene, Birth outcomes, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Prenatal exposure