Prenatal and Postnatal Household Air Pollution Exposures and Pneumonia Risk: Evidence From the Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study

Elsevier, Chest, Volume 160, November 2021
Kinney P.L., Asante K.-P., Lee A.G., Ae-Ngibise K.A., Burkart K., Boamah-Kaali E. et al.

Background: Nearly 40% of the world's population is exposed daily to household air pollution. The relative impact of prenatal and postnatal household air pollution exposure on early childhood pneumonia, a leading cause of mortality, is unknown. Research Question: Are prenatal or postnatal household air pollution, or both, associated with pneumonia risk in the first year of life? Study Design and Methods: The Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study enrolled 1,414 nonsmoking, pregnant women before 24 weeks’ gestation with prospective follow-up to the child's age of 1 year. We measured 72-h personal household air pollution exposures, indexed by carbon monoxide (CO), four times prenatally and three times postnatally. Weekly fieldworker surveillance identified ill-appearing children for physician pneumonia assessment. We used quasi-Poisson models to examine associations between prenatal and postnatal CO and physician-diagnosed pneumonia and severe pneumonia. Sex-specific effects were examined. Results: Of the 1,306 live births, 1,141 infants were followed up with 55,605 child-weeks of fieldworker surveillance. The estimated risk for pneumonia and severe pneumonia in the first year of life increased by 10% (relative risk [RR], 1.10; 95% CI, 1.04-1.16) and 15% (RR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.03-1.28), respectively, per 1-part per million (ppm) increase in average prenatal CO exposure and by 6% (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.99-1.13) per 1-ppm increase in average postnatal CO exposure. Sex-stratified analyses suggest that in girls, higher prenatal CO exposure was associated with pneumonia risk, while no association was seen in boys. Interpretation: Prenatal household air pollution exposure increased risk of pneumonia and severe pneumonia in the first year of life. Clean-burning interventions may be most effective when begun prenatally. Trial Registry:; No.: NCT01335490; URL: