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En-Joo Jung 1 Article
Decreased birth weight after prenatal exposure to wildfires on the eastern coast of Korea in 2000
En-Joo Jung, Ah-Young Lim, Jong-Hun Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023003.   Published online December 9, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023003
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
In April 2000, a series of wildfires occurred simultaneously in five adjacent small cities located on the eastern coast of Korea. These wildfires burned approximately 23,794 hectares of forestland over several days. We investigated the effects of prenatal exposure to the by-products generated by wildfire disasters on birth weight.
METHODS
Birth weight data were obtained for 1999-2001 from the birth registration database of the Korean National Statistical Office and matched with the zip code and exposed/unexposed pregnancy week for days of the wildfires. Generalized linear models were then used to assess the associations between birth weight and exposure to wildfires after adjusting for fetal sex, gestational age, parity, maternal age, maternal education, paternal education, and average exposed atmospheric temperature.
RESULTS
Compared with unexposed pregnancies before and after the wildfires, mean birth weight decreased by 41.4 g (95% confidence interval [CI], -72.4 to -10.4) after wildfire exposure during the first trimester, 23.2 g (95% CI, -59.3 to 13.0) for exposure during the second trimester, and 27.0 g (95% CI, -63.8 to 9.8) during the third trimester. In the adjusted model for infants exposed in utero during any trimester, the mean birth weight decreased by 32.5 g (95% CI, -53.2 to -11.7).
CONCLUSIONS
We observed a 1% reduction in birth weight after wildfire exposure. Thus, exposure to by-products generated during a wildfire disaster during pregnancy may slow fetal growth and cause developmental delays.
Summary
Korean summary
산불로 인한 연소 부산물에 대한 태아기 노출이 출생 체중에 미치는 영향을 조사하였다. 산불 발생 전후로 연소 부산물에 노출되지 않았던 신생아와 비교하였을 때, 노출된 신생아의 평균 출생 체중은 32.5g (-53.2~-11.7g) 감소하였다. 임신 중 산불로 인한 연소 부산물에 대한 노출은 태아 성장을 느리게 하거나 발달 지연을 일으킬 수 있다.
Key Message
The study investigated the effects of prenatal exposure to by-products generated by wildfire disasters on birth weight. Compared to newborns who were not prenatally exposed to wildfire byproducts, exposed newborns had a 32.5 g (-53.2 to -11.7 g) reduction in birth weight. Exposure to wildfire by-products during pregnancy can slow fetal growth or cause developmental delays.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Natural Disaster Epidemiology and Reproductive Health
    Emily W. Harville, Bianka Northland
    Current Epidemiology Reports.2023; 10(4): 169.     CrossRef

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