Use of time to pregnancy in environmental epidemiology and surveillance

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Abstract

Background

Potential sources of environmental pollution, such as incinerators or landfill sites, can adversely affect reproduction and/or development. Time to pregnancy (TTP) is a validated measure of biological fertility that can be studied with relatively small populations.

Methods

Pregnant local residents living within 3 km of a landfill site (‘exposed’ group, n=200) or elsewhere in the Rhondda valleys (‘unexposed’ group, n=400) were interviewed by health visitors or midwives. The response rate was 83%.

Results

No difference was found in the TTP distributions between the exposed and unexposed groups. Relationships of TTP with covariates were consistent with the literature.

Conclusions

In a context of public and scientific concern about possible reproductive toxicity, an interview study of TTP was highly acceptable to local women. A large enough sample to generate stable TTP distributions was readily achieved.

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