Certain jobs dads do linked to higher risk of birth defects

July 17, 2012

Several types of job carried out by future fathers may be linked to an increased risk of birth defects in their babies, suggests research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Previous research has linked certain occupations with a higher risk of birth defects in offspring. But it has tended to lump together very different types of defects and occupations, in order to achieve large sample sizes, with the attendant potential to skew the results, say the authors.

They base their findings on data from the ongoing US National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which is investigating a range of potential risk factors for major birth defects in a large population sample.

They obtained the job histories of just under 1000 dads who had had a child with one or more birth defects born between 1997 and 2004, and those of just over 4000 dads whose kids did not have congenital abnormalities, via telephone interviews with their partners.

This included defects among stillborn babies, and those that were aborted, as well as in live born children.

Jobs were then classified into 63 groups, based on assumed exposure profiles to chemicals or other potential hazards within the job itself and within the profession/industry.

Job classification was restricted to the three months before conception and the first month of pregnancy, considered to be the critical period for susceptibility to damage passed on in the father's sperm.

Particular mathematical methods were used (Bayesian analysis) to take account of the statistical difficulties associated with analysing small sample sizes in numerous categories of risk exposure and more than 60 different categories of birth defect.

Most (90%) of the dads had had only one job during this four month period. The most common groups of jobs were those in management/admin; sales; and the construction industry.

Their analysis showed that nearly a third of job types were not associated with any increased risk of birth defects. These included architects and designers; healthcare professionals; dentists; firefighters; fishermen; car assembly workers; entertainers; smelters and foundry workers; stonemasons and glass blowers/cutters; painters; train drivers/maintenance engineers; soldiers; commercial divers.

But certain types of jobs seemed to be associated with an increased risk of having a child with a birth defect in three or more categories.

These included: mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists; artists; photographers and photo processors; food service workers; landscapers and groundsmen; hairdressers and make-up artists; office and admin support workers; office and admin support workers; sawmill operatives; those working with petrol and gas; those working in chemical industries; printers; those operating cranes and diggers; and drivers.

Jobs associated with specific types of defect included artists (mouth, eyes and ears, gut, limbs, and heart); photographer and photo processors (cataracts, glaucoma, absence of or insufficient eye tissue); drivers (absence of or insufficient eye tissue, glaucoma); landscapers and groundsmen (gut abnormalities).

The authors did not attempt to look at particular exposures to chemical or other potentially harmful hazards, but they conclude that their findings reflect those of other research on dads' roles in fetal damage and may help to inform further study on specific occupational harms.


Related Birth Defects Articles from Brightsurf:

Assessing cancer diagnosis in children with birth defects
In this study, led by Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, researchers provide a better understanding of cancer risk in children with birth defects.

Some antibiotics prescribed during pregnancy linked with birth defects
Children of mothers prescribed macrolide antibiotics during early pregnancy are at an increased risk of major birth defects, particularly heart defects, compared with children of mothers prescribed penicillin, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Weight-loss surgery cuts risk of birth defects
Children born to women who underwent gastric bypass surgery before becoming pregnant had a lower risk of major birth defects than children born to women who had severe obesity at the start of their pregnancy.

Defective cilia linked to heart valve birth defects
Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), the most common heart valve birth defect, is associated with genetic variation in human primary cilia during heart valve development, report Medical University of South Carolina researchers in Circulation.

Findings shed new light on why Zika causes birth defects in some pregnancies
A new study shows that the risk of giving birth to a child with microcephaly might be related to how the immune system reacts against the Zika virus -- specifically what kind of antibodies it produces.

Severe air pollution can cause birth defects, deaths
In a comprehensive study, researchers from Texas A&M University have determined that harmful particulate matter in the atmosphere can produce birth defects and even fatalities during pregnancy using the animal model.

Famous cancer-fighting gene also protects against birth defects
New research has revealed how the famous tumour suppressor gene p53 is surprisingly critical for development of the neural tube in female embryos.

Biomarkers may predict Zika-related birth defects
The highest risk of birth defects is from Zika virus infection during the first and second trimester.

After 60 years, scientists uncover how thalidomide produced birth defects
More than 60 years after the drug thalidomide caused birth defects in thousands of children whose mothers took the drug while pregnant, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have solved a mystery that has lingered ever since the dangers of the drug first became apparent: how did the drug produce such severe fetal harm?

Antiepileptic drug induces birth defects in frogs
A common drug for treating epileptic seizures may lead to birth defects if used during pregnancy by interfering with glutamate signaling in earliest stages of nervous system development, finds a study in frogs published in JNeurosci.

Read More: Birth Defects News and Birth Defects Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.