Air pollution during pregnancy and birth outcomes in Italy (AME)

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 12.00PM to 1.00 pm

Speaker(s): Daniela Vuri (Tor Vergata)

We investigate the impact of fetal exposure to air pollution on health outcomes at birth in Italy in the 2000s combining information on mother’s residential location from birth certificates with information from air quality monitors. Air pollution is measured using the average level over pregnancy and number of days with concentration beyond the hazard limit. The potential endogeneity deriving from differential exposure to air pollution is addressed by exploiting as-good-as-random variation in rainfall shocks as an instrumental variable for pollution concentrations. Our results show that PM10 concentrations have detrimental effects on birth weight, duration of gestation as well as overall health status at birth, and these effects are mainly driven by pollution exposure during the third trimester of pregnancy. We further find that health effects at birth differ in size with respect to the maternal socio-economic status, suggesting that babies born to socially disadvantaged mothers are more vulnerable. Given the non negligible effects of pollution on birth outcomes, further policy efforts are needed to fully exempt fetuses from the adverse effects of air pollution and to mitigate the environmental inequality for health at birth. 

Location: A/D271 above Alcuin Porters Lodge

Admission: All welcome