Environmental Research

Environmental and Perinatal Exposures

Our Environmental and Perinatal Exposures Special Interest Group is able to investigate areas of human exposure to different factors from before birth and over the life course of participants. The group has a range of measures on our participants related to pregnancy (at 18 and 34 weeks), perinatal (i.e. period immediately before and after birth) and neonatal (i.e. newborn) periods, such as maternal lifestyle, maternal blood, cord blood and placentas, birthweight and breastfeeding information. The group also has a range of measures on environmental and occupational exposures, such as BPA, sun, pollen, green space, food, tobacco and liquor outlets, social support, work practices and more across different ages and generations within the Raine Study.

SIG Leaders

Key findings over the last 30 years have included:

Using information collected from the Raine Study participants, researchers found that exposure to BPA (an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics) during pregnancy is related to the reproductive health of male offspring. Researchers also found a negative association between a diet characterized by high fat and sugar foods and reproductive health in young adults. Access to liquor stores seems to influence alcohol consumption in early adolescence and adulthood. Additionally, researchers found evidence to support spending time outdoors may be protective against short-sightedness.

Sperm concentration and motility of the offspring were significantly correlated to BPA in the mother’s blood.

  • Hart RJ, Doherty DA, Keelan JA, Minaee NS, Thorstensen EB, Dickinson JE, Pennell CE, Newnham JP, McLachlan R, Norman RJ, Handelsman DJ. The impact of antenatal Bisphenol A exposure on male reproductive function at 20-22 years of age. Reprod Biomed Online. 2018 Mar;36(3):340-347.

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in cars increases the risk of persistent wheeze in adolescents.

  • Sly PD, Deverell M, Kusel MM, Holt PG. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in cars increases the risk of persistent wheeze in adolescents. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2007;186(6).

Liquor store availability in early adolescence may be a risk factor for alcohol intake in early and middle, but not late, adolescence.

  • Trapp GSA, Knuiman M, Hooper P, Foster S. Proximity to Liquor Stores and Adolescent Alcohol Intake: A Prospective Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2018;54(6):825-30.

Access to alcohol outlets influences alcohol consumption in young adults.  

  • Foster S, Trapp G, Hooper P, Oddy WH, Wood L, Knuiman M. Liquor landscapes: Does access to alcohol outlets influence alcohol consumption in young adults? Health and Place. 2017;45:17-23.

A potential negative association between a “Western” dietary pattern (by high fat, high sugar foods) and male reproductive health was detected and should be studied further.

  • Ognjenovic M, Ambrosini GL, Malacova E, Doherty DA, Oddy WH, Handelsman DJ, McLachlan R, Dickinson J, Hart RJ. Associations between major dietary patterns and testicular function in a population-based cohort of young men: results from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Andrology 2019;7(3):273-80.

There is an inverse association between outdoor activity and myopia.

  • McKnight CM, Sherwin JC, Yazar S, Forward H, Tan AX, Hewitt AW, Pennell CE, McAllister IL, Young TL, Coroneo MT, Mackey DA. Myopia in young adults is inversely related to an objective marker of ocular sun exposure: the Western Australian Raine cohort study. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2014;158(5):1079-85.

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