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Birth Defects in Infants Born to Employees of a Microelectronics and Business Machine Manufacturing Facility
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  • Alternative Title:
    Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol
  • Description:

    Concerns about solvent releases from a microelectronics/business machine manufacturing facility in upstate New York led to interest in the health of former workers, including this investigation of birth defects in children of male and female employees.


    Children born 1983 to 2001 to facility employees were enumerated and matched to New York State’s Congenital Malformations Registry. Reported structural birth defects were compared with numbers expected from state rates (excluding New York City), generating standardized prevalence ratios (SPRs). Exposure assessors classified employees as ever/never potentially exposed at the facility to metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and other hydrocarbons during windows critical to organogenesis (female workers) or spermatogenesis (male workers). Among workers, adjusted prevalence ratios were generated to evaluate associations between potential exposures and specific birth defects.


    External comparisons for structural defects were at expectation for infants of male workers (SPR = 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.77–1.29; n = 60) and lower for births to female workers (SPR = 0.84; 95% CI, 0.50–1.33; n = 18). Among full-term infants of male workers, ventricular septal defects (VSDs) were somewhat elevated compared with the general population (SPR = 1.58; 95% CI, 0.99–2.39; n = 22). Within the cohort, potential paternal metal exposure was associated with increased VSD risk (adjusted prevalence ratio = 2.70; 95% CI, = 1.09–6.67; n = 7).


    While overall SPRs were near expectation, paternal exposure to metals (primarily lead) appeared to be associated with increased VSD risk in infants. Take-home of occupational exposures, nonoccupational exposures, and chance could not be ruled out as causes. Case numbers for many defects were small, limiting assessment of the role of occupational exposures.

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