Indoor Air Pollution From Gas Cooking and Infant Neurodevelopment

Vrijheid, Martinea,b,c; Martinez, Davida,b,c; Aguilera, Inmaa,b,c; Bustamante, Marionac,d; Ballester, Ferranc,e,f; Estarlich, Marisac,e,f; Fernandez-Somoano, Anac,g; Guxens, Mònicaa,b,c; Lertxundi, Nereah,i; Martinez, M. Doloresj; Tardon, Adoninac,g; Sunyer, Jordia,b,c,k

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31823a4023
Child Development

Background: Gas cooking is a main source of indoor air pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide and particles. Because concerns are emerging for neurodevelopmental effects of air pollutants, we examined the relationship between indoor gas cooking during pregnancy and infant neurodevelopment.

Methods: Pregnant mothers were recruited between 2004 and 2008 to a prospective birth cohort study (INfancia y Medio Ambiente) in Spain during the first trimester of pregnancy. Third-trimester questionnaires collected information about the use of gas appliances at home. At age 11 to 22 months, children were assessed for mental development using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Linear regression models examined the association of gas cooking and standardized mental development scores (n=1887 mother–child pairs).

Results: Gas cookers were present in 44% of homes. Gas cooking was related to a small decrease in the mental development score compared with use of other cookers (−2.5 points [95% confidence interval=−4.0 to −0.9]) independent of social class, maternal education, and other measured potential confounders. This decrease was strongest in children tested after the age of 14 months (−3.1 points [−5.1 to −1.1]) and when gas cooking was combined with less frequent use of an extractor fan. The negative association with gas cooking was relatively consistent across strata defined by social class, education, and other covariates.

Conclusions: This study suggests a small adverse effect of indoor air pollution from gas cookers on the mental development of young children.

From the aCenter for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; bHospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain; cCIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain; dGenes and Disease Program, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain; eEnviroment and Health Area, Center for Public Health Research (CSISP), Valencia, Spain; fDepartment of Nursing, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; gPreventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Oviedo, Asturias, Spain; hFaculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV), San Sebastián, Spain; iHealth Research Institute (BIODONOSTIA), San Sebastián, Spain; jDirección de Calidad Ambiental del Departamento de Medio Ambiente del Gobierno Vasco, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain; and kFaculty of Health and Life Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain.

Submitted 1 April 2011; accepted 19 July 2011; posted 14 November 2011.

This study was funded by grants from Spanish Ministry of Health and Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Red INMA G03/176, CB06/02/0041, FIS-PS09/00090, FIS-FEDER 03/1615, FIS-PI04/1436, 04/1509, 04/1112, 04/1931, 04/2018, 05/1079, 05/1052, 06/1213, 06/0867, 07/0314, 08/1151, 09/02311, 09/02647, 09/02311), Generalitat de Catalunya-CIRIT 1999SGR 00241, Conselleria de Sanitat Generalitat Valenciana, Universidad de Oviedo, Obra social Cajastur, Department of Health of the Basque Government (2005111093 and 2009111069), the Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa (DFG06/004 and DFG08/001), and Fundación Roger Torné. The authors reported no other financial interests related to this research.

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Editors' note: A commentary on this article appears on page 33.

Correspondence: Martine Vrijheid, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Doctor Aiguader, 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.