Research and Key Findings in Poland

The Mothers & Newborns Study in Poland follows 500 pregnant women and their children through prospective research studies, examining how multiple common urban pollutants are contributing to rising rates of asthma, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and cancer risk. The study takes place in Krakow, a city with high levels of combustion-generated pollutants from coal burning. Air pollution is measured by the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the environment, which are released during the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, including coal.

Our results have shown that pregnant women in Krakow are exposed to 10-fold higher levels of airborne PAH than women in New York City (NYC). As the cohort matures, we are continuing to collect and analyze data to determine the effects of these early-life exposures on children’s health.

This research is made possible through a partnership between the Center and a research team from Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

Research and Key Findings in Poland


Growth & Development

Cancer Risk & Genetic Susceptibility

  • A high rate of detectable pro-carcinogenic DNA damage (as measured by PAH-DNA adducts) in maternal and newborn cord blood was found in the Polish cohort. PAH-DNA adducts have been linked to increased cancer risk in previous studies.
  • The marked inter-individual variations among children exposed prenatally to the same level of toxicants indicates the potential importance of gene-environment interactions in health outcomes. We have identified significant interactions between genetic variance and PAH on these outcomes, suggesting that some individuals are at greater risk from environment toxicants and carcinogens. These variations were seen in both our NYC and Krakow subjects.

Paintings from Poland

We’re very pleased to feature these beautiful paintings by Jakub Borkowski, a participant in our Mothers and Newborns study in Poland.