Congenital anomalies, prematurity, and low birth weight rates in relation to nuclear power plant proximity1)

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Abstract

Objective:

The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal residential proximity to a nuclear reactor is associated with prevalence of certain birth defects.

Study design:

The New York State Vital Statistics and Congenital Malformations Registry data (1992–2001) were analyzed for five Hudson Valley counties in a 20-mile radius from the Indian Point nuclear reactor (Buchanan, NY, USA). Four zones of 5-mile increments were used to categorize proximity to the reactor. Data included congenital anomalies, low birth weight, and prematurity.

Result:

Over the 10-year period, 702 malformations in 666 children were identified from a birth population of 328,124, yielding a regional rate of 2.1 major malformations per 1000 births. The prevalence of defects, low birth weight, and prematurity were not related to proximity to the nuclear power plant.

Conclusion:

These data did not substantiate an association between maternal proximity to the reactor and certain birth defects and provide baseline data for comparison in the event of a nuclear accident.

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