Article

Maternal occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and risk of neural tube defect-affected pregnancies

Texas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas. .
Birth Defects Research Part A Clinical and Molecular Teratology (Impact Factor: 2.21). 09/2012; 94(9):693-700. DOI: 10.1002/bdra.23045
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study evaluated whether there is an association between maternal occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and neural tube defects (NTDs) in offspring. This is the first such study of which the authors are aware.
Data were analyzed from 1997 to 2002 deliveries in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a large population-based case-control study in the United States. Maternal interviews yielded information on jobs held in the month before through 3 months after conception. Three industrial hygienists blinded to case or control status assessed occupational exposure to PAHs. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression.
Of the 520 mothers of children with NTDs, 5.0% were classified as exposed to occupational PAHs, as were 3.5% of the 2989 mothers of controls. The crude OR for PAH exposure was 1.43 (95% CI, 0.92-2.22) for any NTD and 1.71 (95% CI, 1.03-2.83) for spina bifida. Adjusted ORs were smaller in magnitude and not significant. Among women who were normal weight or underweight, the crude OR for spina bifida was 3.13 (95% CI, 1.63-6.03) and adjusted OR was 2.59 (95% CI, 1.32-5.07). Based on estimated cumulative exposure, a statistically significant dose-response trend was observed for spina bifida; however, it was attenuated and no longer significant after adjustment.
Maternal occupational exposure to PAHs may be associated with increased risk of spina bifida in offspring among women who are normal weight or underweight. Other comparisons between PAHs and NTDs were consistent with no association. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 94:693-700, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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    • "In laboratory animals, embryos exposed to derivatives of PAHs have been shown to present with NTDs (Barbieri et al., 1986; Incardona et al., 2004). Human studies have also indicated that maternal prenatal exposure to PAHs was associated with an elevated risk for NTDs in offspring, using residence location or biomarkers of exposure (Demetriou et al., 2012; Langlois et al., 2012; Rankin et al., 2009). Previously we demonstrated that indoor air pollution from coal combustion was a potential risk factor for NTDs in Shanxi Province, where the concentration of PAHs emissions is amongst the highest in the country. "
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