Objective: To assess the relationship between parental occupational exposure to organic solvents, and the risk of anencephaly in Mexico.
Methods: A case-control study was conducted based on the registers of the Epidemiological Surveillance System for Neural Tube Defects in Mexico; 151 cases of anencephaly of ⩾20 weeks’ gestation were included. A control, born alive and without any apparent congenital malformations at birth, was selected for each case in the same maternity service in which the case was born. Information on occupational exposures, lifestyle habits, reproductive history, use of medicines, supplementation with multivitamins and folic acid, was obtained by a general questionnaire; a food frequency questionnaire was also applied to obtain information of daily intake of folate and other B vitamins. Occupational exposure to organic solvents was based on job title as a proxy for exposure and analysed considering two critical periods around conception.
Results: In logistic regression analysis, the odds of having a child with anencephaly was higher if the mother or the father was occupationally exposed to organic solvents during the periconceptional period, or when both parents or at least one of them were occupationally exposed during this period with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.97 (95% CI 1.36 to 6.52).
Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that both maternal and paternal occupational exposure to organic solvents can increase the probability of having a child with anencephaly.
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