Associations Between Disinfection By-Product Exposures and Craniofacial Birth Defects

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Objective:The aim of this study was to examine associations between craniofacial birth defects (CFDs) and disinfection by-product (DBP) exposures, including the sum of four trihalomethanes (THM4) and five haloacetic acids (HAA5) (ie, DBP9).Methods:We calculated first trimester adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for different DBPs in a matched case–control study of 366 CFD cases in Massachusetts towns with complete 1999 to 2004 THM and HAA data.Results:We detected elevated aORs for cleft palate with DBP9 (highest quintile aOR = 3.52; 95% CI: 1.07, 11.60), HAA5, trichloroacetic acid (TCAA), and dichloroacetic acid. We detected elevated aORs for eye defects with TCAA and chloroform.Conclusion:This is the first epidemiological study of DBPs to examine eye and ear defects, as well as HAAs and CFDs. The associations for cleft palate and eye defects highlight the importance of examining specific defects and DBPs beyond THM4.

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