Quebec City Disinfection Byproducts Not Associated with Risk of “Small-for-Gestational-Age” Neonate

Ileka-Priouzeau S, Campagna C, Legay C, Deonandan R, Rodriguez MJ, Levallois P. Women exposure during pregnancy to haloacetaldehydes and haloacetonitriles in drinking water and risk of small-for-gestational-age neonate. Environmental Research. 2015 Jan 16;137C:338-348. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.01.005.

BACKGROUND: Past studies have examined the effects of maternal exposure to water chlorination disinfection by-products (DBPs), such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) during pregnancy. However, no human-based study has yet evaluated the effect of emerging DBPs, such as haloacetaldehydes (HAs) and haloacetonitriles (HANs) on small-for-gestational-age (SGA) status in newborns.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the association between maternal multiroute exposure to HAs and HANs during the third trimester of pregnancy and SGA status at birth, among neonates delivered by women residing in the Quebec City area (Province of Quebec, Canada). We also evaluated the interaction between exposure to these emerging unregulated by-products and regulated DBPs also found in drinking water (THMs and HAAs), for which a positive association with adverse reproductive outcomes has been suggested in previous studies.

METHODS: We conducted a population-based case-control study in the Quebec City area. SGA newborns (n=330) were compared to 1100 controls, with matching based on calendar week of birth. HA and HAN concentrations in drinking water at participant’s tap were estimated using spatio-temporal strategy based on bimonthly measurements carried out at several locations in the participant’s distribution system. A computer-assisted telephone interview was completed to collect information on individual habits of water consumption and water related activities in order to determine individual multiroute exposure. This enabled us to estimate the dose of HAs and HANs absorbed daily by each participant. Associations between total HA, HAN concentrations in drinking water and SGA were analyzed. Associations between the daily-absorbed doses of these emerging DBPs and SGA were also analyzed. Odds ratios (ORs) comparing the 4th quartile of exposure to the reference group (the first three quartiles) were obtained by means of conditional logistic regression, and controlling for potential confounders.

RESULTS: Globally, no evidence of increased risk of SGA was found with total HA and HAN concentrations in tap water when participants in the 4th quartile of exposure were compared to the first three quartiles (OR=1.0; 95% CI [0.7-1.5] and OR=0.8; 95% CI [0.6-1.2], respectively). Similarly, no association was found with the daily-absorbed doses of total HAs or HANs (OR=0.9; 95% CI [0.6-1.3] and OR=1.1; 95% CI [0.7-1.6], respectively). However, a small non statistically significant association was found between the dose of brominated HA and SGA (OR=1.4; 95% CI [0.9-2.1]). Also, in spite of the lack of interaction between other DBP classes, an unexpected negative interaction was observed between concentration of chloral hydrate (CH) (which represents the main HA species), and regulated DBPs (P=0.006).

CONCLUSION: In this population, exposure to low levels of HAs and HANs during the third trimester of pregnancy through drinking water was not associated to SGA status in newborns. Nonetheless, more research is needed to clarify possible effect of brominated compounds and interaction between different DBPs.

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