Residential Agricultural Pesticide Exposures and Risks of Spontaneous Preterm Birth

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Background:Pesticides exposures are aspects of the human exposome that have not been sufficiently studied for their contribution to risk for preterm birth. We investigated risks of spontaneous preterm birth from potential residential exposures to 543 individual chemicals and 69 physicochemical groupings that were applied in the San Joaquin Valley of California during the study period, 1998–2011.Methods:The study population was derived from birth certificate data linked with Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development maternal and infant hospital discharge data. After exclusions, the analytic study base included 197,461 term control births and 27,913 preterm case births. Preterm cases were more narrowly defined as 20–23 weeks (n = 515), 24–27 weeks (n = 1,792), 28–31 weeks (n = 3,098), or 32–36 weeks (n = 22,508).Results:The frequency of any (versus none) pesticide exposure was uniformly lower in each preterm case group relative to the frequency in term controls, irrespective of gestational month of exposure. All odds ratios were below 1.0 for these any versus no exposure comparisons. The majority of odds ratios were below 1.0, many of them statistically precise, for preterm birth and exposures to specific chemical groups or chemicals.Conclusions:This study showed a general lack of increased risk of preterm birth associated with a range of agriculture pesticide exposures near women’s residences.

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