Dadâ€™s Occupation Linked to Higher Risk of Birth Defects
A new study that is being published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine claim that, "the kind of occupation future fathers hold has a strong association with an increased risk of birth defects in their babies."
The study was based on the data from the ongoing US National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which investigated a range of potential risk factors for major birth defects in a large population sample.
The researchers collected the job history of just 1000 dads who 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.
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He study included defects among stillborn babies, and those that were aborted as well as in live born children.
The kind of occupation the dads were into was 63 groups, based on assumed exposure profiles to chemicals or other potential hazards within the job itself and within the profession/industry.
The types of jobs that 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).
In this study 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 foetal damage and may help to inform further study on specific occupational harms.