Paternal occupation and birth defects: findings from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study
- Tania A Desrosiers1,2,
- Amy H Herring1,3,
- Stuart K Shapira4,
- Mariëtte Hooiveld5,6,
- Tom J Luben7,
- Michele L Herdt-Losavio8,
- Shao Lin8,
- Andrew F Olshan1,3,
- the National Birth Defects Prevention Study
- 1Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
- 2Birth Defects Monitoring Program, State Center for Health Statistics, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
- 3Carolina Population Center, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
- 4National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
- 5Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
- 6Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 7National Center for Environmental Assessment, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
- 8Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy, New York, USA
- Correspondence to Dr Tania A Desrosiers, North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, CB#7435, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA;
- Accepted 26 April 2012
- Published Online First 9 July 2012
Objectives Several epidemiological studies have suggested that certain paternal occupations may be associated with an increased prevalence of birth defects in offspring. Using data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, the authors investigated the association between paternal occupation and birth defects in a case–control study of cases comprising over 60 different types of birth defects (n=9998) and non-malformed controls (n=4066) with dates of delivery between 1997 and 2004.
Methods Using paternal occupational histories reported by mothers via telephone interview, jobs were systematically classified into 63 groups based on shared exposure profiles within occupation and industry. Data were analysed using Bayesian logistic regression with a hierarchical prior for dependent shrinkage to stabilise estimation with sparse data.
Results Several occupations were associated with an increased prevalence of various birth defect categories, including mathematical, physical and computer scientists; artists; photographers and photo processors; food service workers; landscapers and groundskeepers; hairdressers and cosmetologists; office and administrative support workers; sawmill workers; petroleum and gas workers; chemical workers; printers; material moving equipment operators; and motor vehicle operators.
Conclusions Findings from this study might be used to identify specific occupations worthy of further investigation and to generate hypotheses about chemical or physical exposures common to such occupations.
- Bayes theorem
- congenital abnormalities
- occupational exposure
- paternal exposure
- female reproductive effects and adverse pregnancy outcomes
- congenital anomalies
- clinical medicine
- genetic susceptibility
- health surveillance
- primary care
- investigation of outbreaks of illness
- air pollution
- exposure assessment
- public health
- indoor air
- male reproduction
The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Funding This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cooperative agreement number U50CCU422096) and the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant number P30ES10126). This manuscript has been approved for submission to Occupational and Environmental Medicine by the National Birth Defects Prevention Study and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by UNC Institutional Review Board and by CDC Institutional Review Board.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.