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Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Dec;113(12):1808-13.

Late pregnancy exposures to disinfection by-products and growth-related birth outcomes.

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Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1681, USA.


Toxicologic studies have demonstrated associations between growth-related birth outcomes and exposure to high concentrations of disinfection by-products (DBPs), including specific trihalomethane (THM) and haloacetic acid (HAA) chemical subspecies. Few prior investigations of DBPs have evaluated exposure during the third trimester of pregnancy, the time period of gestation when fetal growth may be most sensitive to environmental influences. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine the effects of exposure to THMs and HAAs during the third trimester and during individual weeks and months of late gestation on the risks for term low birth weight, intrauterine growth retardation, and very preterm and preterm births. The study population (n = 48,119) included all live births and fetal deaths occurring from January 1998 through March 2003 to women whose residence was served by one of three community water treatment facilities. We found evidence of associations between exposure to specific HAAs and term low birth weight as well as intrauterine growth retardation and for exposure to the five regulated HAAs (HAA5) and term low birth weight. Our findings suggest a critical window of exposure with respect to fetal development during weeks 33-40 for the effects of dibromoacetic acid and during weeks 37-40 for the effects of dichloroacetic acid. Adjustment for potential confounders did not affect the conclusions.

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