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Ozone Concentrations Linked to Fibroids in Black Women

FRDAY, May 14, 2021 -- Ozone (O3) concentrations are associated with an increased risk for uterine leiomyomata (UL) in Black women, according to a study published online May 13 in Human Reproduction.

Amelia K. Wesselink, Ph.D., from the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues conducted a study involving 21,998 premenopausal Black women residing in 56 U.S. metropolitan areas from 1997 to 2011 to examine the association between ambient concentrations of particulate matter <2.5 microns (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and O3 with the risk for UL.

The researchers found that 28.4 percent of participants reported physician-diagnosed UL confirmed by ultrasound or surgery during 196,685 person-years of follow-up. There was no appreciable association seen for concentrations of PM2.5 (hazard ratio for a one-interquartile range [IQR] increase, 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 1.10) or NO2 (hazard ratio for a one-IQR increase, 1.05; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.16) with UL; however, O3 concentrations were associated with an increased risk for UL (hazard ratio for a one-IQR increase, 1.19; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.07 to 1.32). Among women aged younger than 35 years and parous women, the association was stronger (hazard ratios, 1.26 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.62] and 1.28 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.11 to 1.48], respectively).

"There have now been three studies suggesting a link between air pollution and fibroids, but ours is the first to show this in Black women," Wesselink said in a statement. "Because Black women are inequitably exposed to air pollution, these findings have important implications for racial disparity in fibroids."

One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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