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Title: Air Pollution and Perinatal Health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: Challenges, Limitations, and the Potential of Epigenetics
Authors: Whaibeh, Emile
Tayeh, Georges Abi
Farah, Wehbeh
Abboud, Maher
Awar, Samantha El
Affara, Hadiya Leya
Chalhoub, Elias
Mrad, Myriam A. 
Affiliations: Faculty of Health Sciences 
Faculty of Health Sciences 
Faculty of Health Sciences 
Keywords: Air pollution
Eastern Mediterranean Region
Maternal health
Perinatal health
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: National Library of Medicine
Part of: Current Environmental Health Reports
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Start page: 1
End page: 10
Purpose of review: Even though the burden of disease attributable to air pollution is high in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), the number of studies linking environmental exposures to negative health outcomes remains scarce and limited in scope. This review aims to assess the literature on exposure to air pollutants and perinatal health in the EMR and to explain the potential of epigenetics in exploring the processes behind adverse birth outcomes.

Recent findings: In the last three decades, hundreds of studies and publications tackled the health effects of air pollution on birth outcomes and early life development, but only a small number of these studies was conducted in the EMR. The existing literature is concentrated in specific geographic locations and is focused on a limited number of exposures and outcomes. Main limitations include inconsistent and poorly funded air quality monitoring, inappropriate study designs, imprecise and/or unreliable assessments of exposures, and outcomes. Even though the studies establish associations between air pollutants and adverse birth outcomes, the mechanisms through which these processes take place are yet to be fully understood. A likely candidate to explain these processes is epigenetics; however, epigenetics research on the impact of air pollution in EMR is still in its infancy. This review highlights the need for future research examining perinatal health and air pollutants, especially the epigenetic processes that underlie the adverse birth outcomes, to better understand them and to develop effective recommendations and intervention strategies.
DOI: 10.1007/s40572-022-00337-9
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Department of Public Health

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