Prenatal exposure to PM10 and NO2 and children's neurodevelopment from birth to 24months of age: Mothers and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study

Eunjeong Kim, Hyesook Park, Yun Chul Hong, Mina Ha, Yangho Kim, Boong Nyun Kim, Yeni Kim, Young Man Roh, Bo Eun Lee, Jung Min Ryu, Byung Mi Kim, Eun Hee Ha

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95 Scopus citations


Introduction: Previous studies have suggested adverse effects of maternal exposure to air pollution on neurodevelopment in early childhood. Objectives: We aimed to investigate the association between prenatal exposure to particulates of less than 10μm in diameter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and neurodevelopment in children during the first 24months of their lives. Methods: The MOCEH study is a prospective birth cohort study in South Korea. Average exposure levels to PM10 and NO2 during the entire pregnancy were estimated using the inverse distance weighting (IDW) method. A total of 520 mother-child pairs who completed neurodevelopmental assessments using the Korean Bayley Scale of Infant Development II (K-BSID-II) more than once at ages of 6, 12 and 24months were included. Mental developmental index (MDI) and psychomotor developmental index (PDI) from the K-BSID-II were used as outcome variables. Results: There were negative associations between maternal exposure to PM10 and MDI (β=-2.83; p=0.003) and PDI (β=-3.00; p=0.002) throughout the first 24months of life as determined by the generalized estimating equation (GEE) model. Maternal NO2 exposure was related with impairment of psychomotor development (β=-1.30; p=0.05) but not with cognitive function (β=-0.84; p=0.20). In a multiple linear regression model, there were significant effects of prenatal air pollution exposure on MDI (PM10: β=-4.60; p<0.001, NO2: β=-3.12; p<0.001) and PDI (PM10: β=-7.24; p<0.001, NO2: β=-3.01; p<0.001) at 6months, but no significant association was found at 12 and 24months of age. Conclusions: The findings suggest that exposure to air pollution may result in delayed neurodevelopment in early childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the MOCEH (Mothers and Children's Environmental Health) project of the National Institute of Environmental Research, Republic of Korea .


  • Cognition
  • Environmental air pollution
  • Infant neurodevelopment
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Particulate matters
  • Prenatal exposure


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