Maternal and Perinatal Health in the East-Central Region of Michigan: Environmental Investigation of Industrial Emissions on Adverse Birth Outcomes

Authors: Amanda Kreuze*, Michigan State University, Sue Grady, Michigan State University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Human-Environment Geography, Environment
Keywords: medical geography, maternal & infant health, environmental health, environmental justice, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The East-Central region of Michigan, defined as eight counties within the East Central Prosperity Region has substantial industry. Between 2008-2017 there were 41 active Toxic Release Inventory facilities in operation. Together, these facilities emitted 116 reportable chemicals into the air, waterways, and on land. Several of these are classified as known or possible carcinogens, teratogens, and/or neurotoxins. Chemical manufacturing is of particular concern to this study as it is the largest industry sector in the study area and by far the most concerning when considering risks to human health. Geospatial technologies are used to conduct an environmental assessment to estimate industrial emitted chemical concentrations within the study area. These estimates are used to define maternal exposure at place of residence, during critical windows of pregnancy health. Multilevel modeling is used to estimate the effect of maternal industrial chemical exposure on adverse birth outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm birth and small for gestational age, controlling for potential individual-level confounding. The findings from this research will inform environmental regulatory and public health policies and health care practice in Michigan, for translation into other industrial cities in the United States and other countries experiencing rapid industrial-related economic growth.

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