Prenatal Exposure to Air Toxics and Malignant Germ Cell Tumors in Young Children



To assess prenatal air toxics exposure and risk for childhood germ cell tumors (GCTs) by histological subtype (yolk sac tumor and teratoma).


In this case-control study, GCT cases less than 6 years (n = 243) identified from California Cancer Registry records were matched by birth year to cancer-free population controls (n = 147,100), 1984 to 2013. Routinely monitored air toxic exposures were linked to subjects’ birth address. Logistic regression estimated GCT risks per interquartile range increase in exposure.


Prenatal exposure to various highly-correlated, traffic-related air toxics during the second trimester increased GCT risk, particularly 1,3-butadiene (odds ratio [OR] = 1.51; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01, 2.26) and meta/para-xylene (OR = 1.56; 95% CI = 1.10, 2.21). Analyses by subtype indicated elevated ORs for yolk sac tumors but not teratomas.


Our estimated ORs are consistent with positive associations between some prenatal traffic-related air toxics and GCT risk, notably yolk sac tumors.

The full study is available here.