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Bibliography Tag: birth defects

Winchester et al., 2009

Winchester PD, Huskins J, Ying J, “Agrichemicals in surface water and birth defects in the United States,” Acta Paediatrica, 2009, 98:4, DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01207.


OBJECTIVES: To investigate if live births conceived in months when surface water agrichemicals are highest are at greater risk for birth defects.

METHODS: Monthly concentrations during 1996-2002 of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides were calculated using United States Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Assessment data. Monthly United States birth defect rates were calculated for live births from 1996 to 2002 using United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention natality data sets. Birth defect rates by month of last menstrual period (LMP) were then compared to pesticide/nitrate means using logistical regression models.

RESULTS: Mean concentrations of agrichemicals were highest in April-July. Total birth defects, and eleven of 22 birth defect subcategories, were more likely to occur in live births with LMPs between April and July. A significant association was found between the season of elevated agrichemicals and birth defects.

CONCLUSION: Elevated concentrations of agrichemicals in surface water in April-July coincided with higher risk of birth defects in live births with LMPs April-July. While a causal link between agrichemicals and birth defects cannot be proven from this study an association might provide clues to common factors shared by both variables.    FULL TEXT

Weselak et al., 2008

Weselak M, Arbuckle TE, Wigle DT, Walker MC, Krewski D, “Pre- and post-conception pesticide exposure and the risk of birth defects in an Ontario farm population.,” Reproductive Toxicology, 2008, 25:4, DOI: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2008.05.060.

ABSTRACT: The use of pesticides has enhanced the health and economies of nations around the world by improving crop production. However, pesticides may pose health risks, particularly to the fetus and young children. In a secondary analysis of the Ontario Farm Family Health Study, we explored the relationship between birth defects and parental pesticide exposure during the 3 months prior to conception and the first trimester of pregnancy. A total of 3412 pregnancies were included in the study. Logistic regression fit by maximum likelihood was used in the analysis. The results showed that pre-conception exposure to both cyanazine (odds ratio=4.99, 95% confidence interval: 1.63-15.27) and dicamba (OR=2.42, 95% CI: 1.06-5.53) were associated with increased risk of birth defects in male offspring. Nevertheless, given the self-reported nature of the exposure and outcomes in this study, the present findings should be considered primarily as hypothesis generating, requiring verification in subsequent investigations. FULL TEXT

Schreinemachers, 2003

Schreinemachers DM, “Birth malformations and other adverse perinatal outcomes in four U.S. Wheat-producing states,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2003, 111:9.

ABSTRACT: Chlorophenoxy herbicides are widely used in the United States and Western Europe for broadleaf weed control in grain farming and park maintenance. Most of the spring and durum wheat produced in the United States is grown in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, with more than 85% of the acreage treated with chlorophenoxy herbicides such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA). Rates of adverse birth outcomes in rural, agricultural counties of these states during 1995-1997 were studied by comparing counties with a high proportion of wheat acreage and those with a lower proportion. Information routinely collected and made available by federal agencies was used for this ecologic study. Significant increases in birth malformations were observed for the circulatory/respiratory category for combined sexes [odds ratio (OR) = 1.65; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-2.55]. A stronger effect was observed for the subcategory, which excluded heart malformations (OR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.14-3.59). In addition, infants conceived during April-June–the time of herbicide application–had an increased chance of being diagnosed with circulatory/respiratory (excluding heart) malformations compared with births conceived during other months of the year (OR = 1.75; 95% CI, 1.09-2.80). Musculoskeletal/integumental anomalies increased for combined sexes in the high-wheat counties (OR = 1.50; 95% CI, 1.06-2.12). Infant death from congenital anomalies significantly increased in high-wheat counties for males (OR = 2.66; 95% CI, 1.52-4.65) but not for females (OR = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.20-1.15). These results are especially of concern because of widespread use of chlorophenoxy herbicides.   FULL TEXT

Rocheleau et al., 2009

Rocheleau CM, Romitti PA, Dennis LK, “Pesticides and hypospadias: a meta-analysis.,” Journal of Pediatric Urology, 2009, 5:1, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2008.08.006.


OBJECTIVE: To use meta-analytic techniques to synthesize the findings of the current body of published literature regarding the risk of hypospadias resulting from parental exposure to pesticides.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A search of Pub Med for original research published in English from January 1966 through March 2008 identified 552 studies, 90 of which were reviewed in detail. Nine studies met all study inclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently abstracted data from each included study. Any disagreements were resolved by consensus. Pooled risk ratios (PRRs) and confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using both random and fixed effects models, along with statistical tests of homogeneity.

RESULTS: Elevated but marginally significant risks of hypospadias were associated with maternal occupational exposure (PRR of 1.36, CI=1.04-1.77), and paternal occupational exposure (PRR of 1.19, CI=1.00-1.41). Subgroup analyses provided insights into needed designs for future studies. Notably, exposure assessment using a job-exposure matrix resulted in slightly higher estimated risk than agricultural occupation in fathers; but this effect was reversed in mothers, suggesting the importance of indirect and residential pesticide exposures in this group.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite potential exposure misclassification, which would tend to diminish observed associations, the previous literature indicates a modestly increased risk of hypospadias associated with pesticide exposure.   FULL TEXT

Rocheleau et al., 2015

Rocheleau CM, Bertke SJ, Lawson CC, Romitti PA, Sanderson WT, Malik S, Lupo PJ, Desrosiers TA, Bell E, Druschel C, Correa A, Reefhuis J, “Maternal occupational pesticide exposure and risk of congenital heart defects in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study,” Birth Defects Research Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratololgy, 2015, 103:10, DOI: 10.1002/bdra.23351.


BACKGROUND: Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are common birth defects, affecting approximately 1% of live births. Pesticide exposure has been suggested as an etiologic factor for CHDs, but previous results were inconsistent.

METHODS: We examined maternal occupational exposure to fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides for 3328 infants with CHDs and 2988 unaffected control infants of employed mothers using data for 1997 through 2002 births from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a population-based multisite case-control study. Potential pesticide exposure from 1 month before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy was assigned by an expert-guided task-exposure matrix and job history details self-reported by mothers. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS: Maternal occupational exposure to pesticides was not associated with CHDs overall. In examining specific CHD subtypes compared with controls, some novel associations were observed with higher estimated pesticide exposure: insecticides only and secundum atrial septal defect (OR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.3-2.7, 40 exposed cases); both insecticides and herbicides and hypoplastic left heart syndrome (OR = 5.1; 95% CI, 1.7-15.3, 4 exposed cases), as well as pulmonary valve stenosis (OR = 3.6; 95% CI, 1.3-10.1, 5 exposed cases); and insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides and tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) (OR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-4.0, 13 exposed cases).

CONCLUSION: Broad pesticide exposure categories were not associated with CHDs overall, but examining specific CHD subtypes revealed some increased odds ratios. These results highlight the importance of examining specific CHDs separately. Because of multiple comparisons, additional work is needed to verify these associations.   FULL TEXT

Rappazzo et al., 2016

Rappazzo KM, Warren JL, Meyer RE, Herring AH, Sanders AP, Brownstein NC, Luben TJ, “Maternal residential exposure to agricultural pesticides and birth defects in a 2003 to 2005 North Carolina birth cohort,” Birth Defects Research Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratolology, 2016, 106:4, DOI: 10.1002/bdra.23479.


BACKGROUND: Birth defects are responsible for a large proportion of disability and infant mortality. Exposure to a variety of pesticides have been linked to increased risk of birth defects.

METHODS:  We conducted a case-control study to estimate the associations between a residence-based metric of agricultural pesticide exposure and birth defects. We linked singleton live birth records for 2003 to 2005 from the North Carolina (NC) State Center for Health Statistics to data from the NC Birth Defects Monitoring Program. Included women had residence at delivery inside NC and infants with gestational ages from 20 to 44 weeks (n = 304,906). Pesticide exposure was assigned using a previously constructed metric, estimating total chemical exposure (pounds of active ingredient) based on crops within 500 meters of maternal residence, specific dates of pregnancy, and chemical application dates based on the planting/harvesting dates of each crop. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals for four categories of exposure (<10(th) , 10-50(th) , 50-90(th) , and >90(th) percentiles) compared with unexposed. Models were adjusted for maternal race, age at delivery, education, marital status, and smoking status.

RESULTS:  We observed elevated ORs for congenital heart defects and certain structural defects affecting the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and musculoskeletal systems (e.g., OR [95% confidence interval] [highest exposure vs. unexposed] for tracheal esophageal fistula/esophageal atresia = 1.98 [0.69, 5.66], and OR for atrial septal defects: 1.70 [1.34, 2.14]).

CONCLUSION: Our results provide some evidence of associations between residential exposure to agricultural pesticides and several birth defects phenotypes.

Winchester et al., 2017

Winchester PD, Parvez S, Proctor C, Ying J, Gerona RR, “Fetal Exposure to Glyphosate,” Presentation, Pediatric Academic Societies, May 6-7, 2017, San Francisco, California.


Measured glyphosate in pregnant women to estimate fetal exposure and monitor potential adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes. Glyphosate was present in 91% of the urine samples and higher glyphosate levels were correlated with shorter pregnancies and lower birth weights.  FULL TEXT

Mesnage et al., 2012b

Mesnage R, Moesch C, Le Grand R, Lauthier G, de Vendomois JS, Gress S, Seralini GR, “Glyphosate exposure in a farmer’s family,”  Journal of Environmental Protection, 3:1001-1003, DOI: 10.4236/jep.2012.39115.

ABSTRACT: We tested the presence of glyphosate in the urines of a farmer who sprayed a glyphosate based herbicide on his land, and in his family, as his children were born with birth defects that could be due to or promoted by pesticides. Glyphosate residues were measured in urines a day before, during, and two days after spraying, by liquid chromatography-linear ion trap mass spectrometry. Glyphosate reached a peak of 9.5 µg/L in the farmer after spraying, and 2 µg/L were found in him and in one of his children living at a distance from the field, two days after the pulverization. Oral or dermal absorptions could explain the differential pesticide excretions, even in family members at a distance from the fields. A more detailed following of agricultural practices and family exposures should be advocated together with information and recommendations.  FULL TEXT


Garry et al., 1996

Garry VF, Schreinemachers D, Harkins ME, Griffith J, “Pesticide appliers, biocides, and birth defects in rural Minnesota,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 1996, 104:4.


Earlier studies by our group suggested the possibility that offspring of pesticide appliers might have increased risks of birth anomalies. To evaluate this hypothesis, 935 births to 34,772 state-licensed, private pesticide appliers in Minnesota occurring between 1989 and 1992 were linked to the Minnesota state birth registry containing 210,723 live births in this timeframe. The birth defect rate for all birth anomalies was significantly increased in children born to private appliers. Specific birth defect categories, circulatory/respiratory, urogenital, and musculoskeletal/integumental, showed significant increases. For the general population and for appliers, the birth anomaly rate differed by corp-growing region. Western Minnesota, a major wheat, sugar beet, and potato growing region, showed the highest rate of birth anomalies per/1000 live births: 30.0 for private appliers versus 26.9 for the general population of the same region. The lowest rates, 23.7/1000 for private appliers versus 18.3/1000 for the general population, occurred in noncorp regions. The highest frequency of use of chlorophenoxy herbicides and fungicides also occurred in western Minnesota. Births in the general population of western Minnesota showed a significant increase in birth anomalies in the same three birth anomaly categories as appliers and for central nervous system anomalies. This increase was most pronounced for infants conceived in the spring. The seasonal effect did not occur in other regions. The male/female sex ratio for the four birth anomaly categories of interest in areas of high phenoxy herbicide/fungicide use is 2.8 for appliers versus 1.5 for the general population of the same region (p = 0.05). In minimal use regions, this ratio is 2.1 for appliers versus 1.7 for the general population. The pattern of excess frequency of birth anomalies by pesticide use, season, and alteration of sex ratio suggests exposure-related effects in appliers and the general population of the crop-growing region of western Minnesota.  FULL TEXT

Garry et al., 2002b

Garry VF, Harkins ME, Erickson LL, Long-Simpson LK, Holland SE, Burroughs BL, “Birth defects, season of conception, and sex of children born to pesticide applicators living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota, USA,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2002, 110: Supplemental 3.


We previously demonstrated that the frequency of birth defects among children of residents of the Red River Valley (RRV), Minnesota, USA, was significantly higher than in other major agricultural regions of the state during the years 1989-1991, with children born to male pesticide applicators having the highest risk. The present, smaller cross-sectional study of 695 families and 1,532 children, conducted during 1997-1998, provides a more detailed examination of reproductive health outcomes in farm families ascertained from parent-reported birth defects. In the present study, in the first year of life, the birth defect rate was 31.3 births per 1,000, with 83% of the total reported birth defects confirmed by medical records. Inclusion of children identified with birth or developmental disorders within the first 3 years of life and later led to a rate of 47.0 per 1,000 (72 children from 1,532 live births). Conceptions in spring resulted in significantly more children with birth defects than found in any other season (7.6 vs. 3.7%). Twelve families had more than one child with a birth defect (n = 28 children). Forty-two percent of the children from families with recurrent birth defects were conceived in spring, a significantly higher rate than that for any other season. Three families in the kinships defined contributed a first-degree relative other than a sibling with the same or similar birth defect, consistent with a Mendelian inheritance pattern. The remaining nine families did not follow a Mendelian inheritance pattern. The sex ratio of children with birth defects born to applicator families shows a male predominance (1.75 to 1) across specific pesticide class use and exposure categories exclusive of fungicides. In the fungicide exposure category, normal female births significantly exceed male births (1.25 to 1). Similarly, the proportion of male to female children with birth defects is significantly lower (0.57 to 1; p = 0.02). Adverse neurologic and neurobehavioral developmental effects clustered among the children born to applicators of the fumigant phosphine (odds ratio [OR] = 2.48; confidence interval [CI], 1.2-5.1). Use of the herbicide glyphosate yielded an OR of 3.6 (CI, 1.3-9.6) in the neurobehavioral category. Finally, these studies point out that (a) herbicides applied in the spring may be a factor in the birth defects observed and (b) fungicides can be a significant factor in the determination of sex of the children of the families of the RRV. Thus, two distinct classes of pesticides seem to have adverse effects on different reproductive outcomes. Biologically based confirmatory studies are needed. FULL TEXT

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