Short Takes - 2005-02-16

A Columbia University study of 60 newborns in New York City reveals that exposure of expectant mothers to combustion related urban air pollution may damage babies' chromosomes while in the womb. The air pollutants included emissions from cars, trucks, bus engines, residential heating, power generation and tobacco smoking. Exposure to pollutants was assessed through questionnaires and portable air monitors worn by the mothers during the third trimester of their pregnancies, and chromosomal abnormalities were measured in umbilical cord blood. The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.