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Maternal occupation as a nail technician or hairdresser during pregnancy and birth defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997–2011
  1. Miriam R Siegel1,
  2. Carissa M Rocheleau1,
  3. Kendra Broadwater1,
  4. Albeliz Santiago-Colón2,
  5. Candice Y Johnson1,
  6. Michele L Herdt3,4,
  7. I-Chen Chen1,
  8. Christina C Lawson1
  9. National Birth Defects Prevention Study
  1. 1Division of Field Studies and Engineering, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  2. 2World Trade Center Health Program, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  3. 3Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York, USA
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, State University of New York at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Miriam R Siegel, Division of Field Studies and Engineering, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; wrm9{at}cdc.gov

Abstract

Objective Nail technicians and hairdressers may be exposed to chemicals with potential reproductive effects. While studies have examined birth defects in children of hairdressers, those in children of nail technicians have not been evaluated. We investigated associations between selected birth defects and maternal occupation as a nail technician or hairdresser versus a non-cosmetology occupation during pregnancy.

Methods We analysed population-based case–control data from the multisite National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997–2011. Cases were fetuses or infants with major structural birth defects; controls were live-born infants without major birth defects. Expert raters classified self-reported maternal jobs as nail technician, combination nail technician-hairdresser, hairdresser, other cosmetology work or non-cosmetology work. We used logistic regression to calculate adjusted ORs and 95% CIs for associations between occupation during pregnancy and birth defects, controlling for age, smoking, education and race/ethnicity.

Results Sixty-one mothers worked as nail technicians, 196 as hairdressers, 39 as combination nail technician-hairdressers and 42 810 as non-cosmetologists. The strongest associations among nail technicians included seven congenital heart defect (CHD) groups (ORs ranging from 2.7 to 3.5) and neural tube defects (OR=2.6, CI=0.8 to 8.4). Birth defects most strongly associated with hairdressing included anotia/microtia (OR=2.1, CI=0.6 to 6.9) and cleft lip with cleft palate (OR=2.0, CI=1.1 to 3.7). All oral cleft groups were associated with combination nail technician-hairdresser work (ORs ranging from 4.2 to 5.3).

Conclusions Small samples resulted in wide CIs. Still, results suggest associations between maternal nail technician work during pregnancy and CHDs and between hairdressing work and oral clefts.

  • occupational health
  • reproductive medicine
  • epidemiology

Data availability statement

Data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) are not available to the public. Qualified researchers can be granted access to NBDPS data for analysis through collaboration with one of the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/nbdps-public-access-procedures.html.

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Data availability statement

Data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) are not available to the public. Qualified researchers can be granted access to NBDPS data for analysis through collaboration with one of the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/nbdps-public-access-procedures.html.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors MRS led data analysis and drafting of the manuscript. CMR, CYJ, CCL and MRS contributed to conception and design of the analysis. CMR, CYJ, CCL, KB and MLH contributed subject matter expertise. CMR, KB, MLH and AS-C contributed to development of the exposure assessment methodology. CMR and KB served as expert raters in the exposure assessment. KB, AS-C and CYJ assisted with drafting the manuscript. MLH and KB assisted with literature review. I-CC assisted with statistical analysis and duplication. All authors provided critical review of the manuscript and approved of the submission.

  • Funding This work was supported through cooperative agreements under PA 96043, PA 02081 and FOA DD09-001 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention participating in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

  • Disclaimer The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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