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.
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- 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.
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