Risk of congenital anomalies from trihalomethane exposure during pregnancy

Grazuleviciene R, Kapustinskiene V, Vencloviene J, Buinauskiene J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. Risk of congenital anomalies in relation to the uptake of trihalomethane from drinking water during pregnancy. Occup Environ Med. 2013 Feb 12.

OBJECTIVES: Congenital anomalies have been inconsistently associated with maternal crude estimated exposure to drinking water trihalomethane (THM). We investigated the relationship between individual THM uptake during the first trimester of pregnancy and congenital anomalies.

METHODS: We estimated maternal THM uptake for 3074 live births using residential tap water concentrations, drinking water ingestion, showering and bathing, and uptake factors of THM in the blood. Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate the association of THM exposure with congenital anomalies.

RESULTS: We observed no statistically significant relationships between congenital anomalies and the total THM internal dose. We found little indication of a dose-response relationship for brominated THM and congenital heart anomalies. The relationship was statistically significant for bromodichloromethane (BDCM) (OR=2.16, 95% CI 1.05 to 4.46, highest vs lowest tertile) during the first month of pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the probability of developing heart anomalies increased for every 0.1 μg/d increase in the BDCM and for every 0.01 μg/d increase in the internal dibromochloromethane (DBCM) dose (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.66, and OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.54, respectively). A dose-response relationship was evident for musculoskeletal anomalies and DBCM exposure during the first and second months of pregnancy, while BDCM exposure tended to increase the risk of urogenital anomalies.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows some evidence for an association between the internal dose of THM and the risk of congenital anomalies. In particular, increased prenatal exposure to brominated THM might increase the risk of congenital heart and musculoskeletal anomalies.

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