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Specific Paternal Occupations Linked to Risk of Birth Defects

Last Updated: July 19, 2012.

Specific paternal occupations correlate with increased risk of birth defects, and maternal occupational exposure to certain solvents correlates with increased risk of congenital heart defects, according to two studies published online July 17 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- Specific paternal occupations correlate with increased risk of birth defects, and maternal occupational exposure to certain solvents correlates with increased risk of congenital heart defects (CHDs), according to two studies published online July 17 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Tania A. Desrosiers, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the correlation between paternal occupation and birth defects in a case-control study involving 9,998 cases with over 60 different types of birth defects and 4,066 non-malformed controls. The researchers found that several occupations correlated with an increased prevalence of various birth defects, including but not limited to: mathematical, physical, and computer scientists; artists; photographers and photo processors; food service workers; chemical workers; petroleum and gas workers; and hairdressers and cosmetologists.

Suzanne M. Gilboa, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the association between estimated maternal occupational exposure to solvents from one month before conception through the first trimester and CHDs in offspring. Participants included 2,047 CHD case mothers and 2,951 control mothers. With an expert consensus-based approach, correlations were noted for exposure to any solvent and any chlorinated solvent with perimembranous ventricular septal defects (odds ratios [OR], 1.6 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.0 to 2.6] and 1.7 [95 percent CI, 1.0 to 2.8], respectively). Using a literature-based approach, correlations were seen for any solvent exposure and aortic stenosis (OR, 2.1; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 4.1) and Stoddard solvent exposure and d-transposition of the great arteries, right ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects, and pulmonary valve stenosis (ORs, 2.0, 1.9, and 2.1, respectively, with corresponding 95 percent CIs of 1.0 to 4.2, 1.1 to 3.3, and 1.1 to 3.8).

"We observed associations between occupational exposure to solvents and several types of simple isolated CHDs," Gilboa and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Desrosiers
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Abstract - Gilboa
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