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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Coal and oil power plant retirements in California associated with reduced preterm birth among populations nearby

TitleCoal and oil power plant retirements in California associated with reduced preterm birth among populations nearby
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCasey, JA, Karasek, D, Ogburn, EL, Goin, DE, Dang, K, Braveman, PA, Morello-Frosch, R
JournalAm J Epidemiol
Date PublishedMay 16
ISBN Number0002-9262
Accession Number29796613
Abstract

Coal and oil power plant retirements reduce air pollution nearby, but few studies have leveraged these natural experiments for public health research. We used California Department of Public Health birth records and Energy Information Administration data from 2001-2011 to evaluate the relationship between 8 coal and oil power plant retirements and nearby preterm births ( < 37 weeks gestational age). We conducted a difference-in-differences analysis using adjusted linear mixed models that included 57,005 births-6.5% of which were preterm-to compare the probability of preterm birth before and after power plant retirement among mothers residing within 0-5 km and 5-10 km of the 8 power plants. We found that power plant retirements were associated with a decrease in the proportion of preterm birth within 5 km (-0.019, 95% CI: -0.031, -0.008) and 5-10 km (-0.015, 95% CI: -0.024, -0.007) controlling for secular trends with mothers living 10-20 km away. For the 0-5 km area, this corresponds to a reduction in preterm birth from 7.0% to 5.1%. Subgroup analyses indicated a potentially larger association among non-Hispanic Black and Asian mothers compared to non-Hispanic White and Hispanic mothers and no differences in educational attainment. Future coal and oil power plant retirements may reduce preterm birth among nearby populations.

PMCID

PMC6070091