Ozone in air pollution is linked to fibroid development in B
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Higher levels of ozone from air pollution are linked to an increased risk of developing fibroids among Black American women according to a large study published in Human Reproduction.

The study investigated concentrations of three environmental pollutants in the air in 56 US metropolitan areas: particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3). The 21,998 premenopausal Black women who lived in these areas and were included in the research were part of the ongoing Black Women's Health Study. They answered questionnaires every two years and were followed up until 2019.

During the 14-year follow-up period, 6238 women reported having fibroids diagnosed by a doctor and confirmed by ultrasound or surgery. Average concentrations of ozone were 36.9 parts per billion (ppb), with a range of 25.4 to 55 ppb.

After adjusting for factors that could affect the results, such as education, smoking, body mass index, diet, and whether or not the women had been pregnant, the researchers found that the risk of self-reported fibroids increased with increasing levels of ozone in the atmosphere, but not with PM2.5 or NO2.

Ozone was linked to a 35% increased risk of fibroids among the 20% of women exposed to the highest levels of ozone (42-55 ppb) - a rate of 33.6 cases per 1000 women, compared with the 20% exposed to the lowest levels (25-33 ppb) - a rate of 31.4 cases per 1000 women. The association was stronger among women aged less than 35 years and for women who had been pregnant.

The author concluded: "Further research is needed to understand the role of air pollution in fibroid development. For instance, a prospective, ultrasound-based study could identify fibroids, regardless of whether or not they are causing symptoms that lead to women seeking medical care."

Source: https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deab095