Background: In the 1990s, congenital anomalies were reported among children whose fathers had served aboard a Norwegian missile torpedo boat (MTB). The Royal Norwegian Navy asked the University of Bergen to look into this problem as one part of a general health and work environment surveillance.
Aims: To estimate any increased risk of having children with congenital anomalies and having stillborn children among the offspring of workers that had served aboard the MTB and to investigate possible differences in exposure and other risk factors between these groups.
Methods: Data from a cross-sectional study among all current employees of the Norwegian Navy (n = 2265, response rate 58%) were analysed.
Results: The prevalence ratio of having a child with congenital malformations associated with working on the ship was 4.0 (95% CI 1.9 to 8.6). The prevalence ratio of having a child who was stillborn or died within one week was 4.1 (95% CI 1.7 to 9.9).
Conclusion: Service aboard the MTB was associated with an increased risk of having children with congenital birth defects and having children that were stillborn. The causes of these findings are unknown.
- military personnel
- naval medicine
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Funding: the Royal Norwegian Navy funded the research programme Health, Safety and Work Environment in the Royal Norwegian Navy
Competing interests: the research programme Health, Safety and Work Environment in the Royal Norwegian Navy at the University of Bergen, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Section for Occupational Medicine, Bergen, Norway has been funded by the Royal Norwegian Navy, including the funding for some of the staff. The university has been granted full freedom of publication of the results from this research programme. Vilhelm Koefoed is employed by the Royal Norwegian Navy. Nils Magerøy and Ole Jacob Møllerløkken have been reimbursed by the research programme for attending conferences. Nils Magerøy and Bente Moen have been paid by the Royal Norwegian Navy for giving lectures at courses being arranged by the Royal Norwegian Navy.
Preliminary results have been published in connection with the 17th International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, Melbourne, Australia, October 2004, as a poster and as an abstract of the poster on OEM online. These results did not include the results after the validation of the parent information on congenital anomalies by the physicians.
Abstract: P2.16. Mageroy N, Mollerlokken OJ, Riise T, Moen BE. Surveillance of the work environment in the Royal Norwegian Navy: higher risk of congenital anomalies found in the offspring of personnel who have served aboard a missile torpedo boat. Section for Occupational Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway. http://oem.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/61/11/e43.
Poster: Mageroy N, Mollerlokken OJ, Riise, Moen BE. Surveillance of the work environment in the Royal Norwegian Navy: higher risk of congenital anomalies found in the offspring of personnel who have served aboard a missile torpedo boat. 17th International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, Melbourne, Australia, October 2004.
The opinions stated in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily express the opinion of the Royal Norwegian Navy.