University Of Tasmania

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Early life exposure to coal mine fire and tobacco smoke affect subclinical vascular function

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 11:13 authored by Zhao, B, Fay JohnstonFay Johnston, O'Sullivan, T, Grant WilliamsonGrant Williamson, Melody, S, Marita DaltonMarita Dalton, Alison VennAlison Venn, Kazuaki Negishi

Objective: To evaluate whether vascular health in young children was associated with exposure to a 6-week episode of coal mine fire smoke or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in a retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Three years after a coal mine fire in Victoria, Australia, we investigated the vascular health of children either in utero (n = 75) or aged < 2 years (postnatal exposure, n = 96) at the time of the fire. The outcomes were the carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and pulse wave velocity (PWV). The mean and peak daily particulate matter < 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5) exposures were estimated based on their daily locations throughout the fire period. Multivariable linear regression models were used to test for associations between the fire-related PM2.5 and outcomes adjusted for relevant covariates including ETS.

Results: In the postnatal-exposure group, each 10 µg/m3 increase in mean PM2.5 level was independently positively associated with PWV (β = 0.116, p = 0.028). When these two groups were combined, there was an association between mean PM2.5 and increased PWV in those children who had ETS exposure (β = 0.148, p = 0.033) or whose mothers smoked (β = 0.151, p = 0.011), but not in those not exposed to ETS or maternal smoking.

Conclusions: Three years after a coal mine fire, infants aged up to 2 years at the time of exposure have increases in vascular stiffness. Although no adverse effects were observed in the in uterus exposure group, further follow-up study is needed to elucidate the long-term effects of coal mine fire smoke exposure.


Publication title

Archives of Disease in Childhood










Menzies Institute for Medical Research


B M J Publishing Group

Place of publication

British Med Assoc House, Tavistock Square, London, England, Wc1H 9Jr

Rights statement

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Neonatal and child health