From invisible wafts of diesel exhaust to sun-choking plumes of orange smoke, air pollution is known to damage respiratory well-being. Now, research from Rutgers suggests another reason to hold our breath: Polluted air also may hurt reproductive health. In a study of air pollution data in relation to markers of reproductive development in infancy, Rutgers researchers found certain pollutants may negatively alter anogenital distance, a measure of prenatal exposure to hormones.

“These findings suggest air pollution may interfere with normal hormone activity during critical periods of prenatal and early infant development, and we suspect that disruption may have long-term consequences for reproductive health,” said Emily Barrett, a professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health and lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. To read the full story.