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Public Health Rep. 1989 Sep-Oct;104(5):473-7.

Self-reported exposure to pesticides and radiation related to pregnancy outcome--results from National Natality and Fetal Mortality Surveys.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599.


Although fetal development is known to be sensitive to environmental agents, relatively little epidemiologic research has addressed this concern. Effects on pregnancy outcome of self-reported parental exposure to pesticides and to radiation were examined using data from the National Natality and Fetal Mortality Surveys, large national probability samples of live births and stillbirths occurring in 1980. In case-control analyses, maternal exposure to pesticides at home or work was associated with increased risk of stillbirth (odds ratios (ORs) = 1.5-1.6). Paternal pesticide exposure was associated with stillbirth (ORs = 1.2-1.4) and delivery of small-for-gestational-age infants (ORs = 1.4-2.0). A small increased risk of stillbirth (OR = 1.3) was found in relation to either parent's reported exposure to radiation. In spite of limitations in the quality of exposure data and the possibility of biased recall related to pregnancy outcome, associations of reported pesticide exposure to either parent with risk of stillbirth and small-for-gestational-age infants warrant further evaluation.

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