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J Occup Environ Med. 2009 May;51(5):525-33. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181a01af3.

Birth defects in offspring of female veterinarians.

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  • 1School of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.



To investigate the risk of birth defects in offspring of female veterinarians exposed to occupational hazards such as radiation, anesthetic gases, and pesticides in veterinary practice.


The Health Risks of Australian Veterinarians project was conducted as a questionnaire-based survey of all graduates from Australian veterinary schools during the 40-year period 1960-2000.


In a multiple logistic regression controlling for the potential confounders, the study showed an increased risk of birth defects in offspring of female veterinarians after occupational exposure to high dose of radiation (taking more than 10 x-ray films per week, odds ratio: 5.73 95% CI: 1.27 to 25.80) and an increase risk of birth defects after occupational exposure to pesticides at least once per week (odds ratio: 2.39 95% CI: 0.99 to 5.77) in veterinarians exclusively working in small animal practice.


Female veterinarians should be informed of the possible reproductive effects of occupational exposures to radiation and pesticides.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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