Study of male birth defect lets pesticides off the hook—for now

October 28, 2013
Study of male birth defect lets pesticides off the hook -- for now
Hypospadias occurs in about 5 of every 1,000 baby boys.

(HealthDay)—Only a weak link exists between pesticide exposure and a common birth defect in baby boys, according to a new study.

Researchers examined the association between hundreds of chemicals used in commercial and a birth defect called hypospadias, in which the urethral opening on the penis is on the underside rather than on the tip.

This birth defect occurs in about five of every 1,000 male infants, and the cause is usually unknown. Some studies have suggested a slightly increased risk for infants whose parents work around pesticides, but many have found no such link.

"We didn't see many chemicals that suggested an increased risk, and of those that did, most of them were infrequently used," study lead author Suzan Carmichael, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, said in a university news release.

"It is good news that such exposures are rare, but at the same time, when exposures are rare, it makes studies harder to do," she said.

In the study, researchers compared data from 690 male infants born with hypospadias and nearly 2,200 who did not have the . The infants were born in California's Central Valley, which has one of the highest rates of pesticide use in the nation, according to the study. The mothers of the children lived fairly close to where pesticides were used.

The researchers found that 15 chemicals used in pesticides had possible associations with hypospadias, but they said further research is needed, according to the study, which was published online Oct. 28 in the journal Pediatrics.

Study co-author Gary Shaw, a professor of at Stanford, said the jury is still out on the possible association between pesticides and .

"These results extend what we know, but at the end of the day they need to be replicated before we can really be sure whether there is or is not a real risk associated with these chemicals," Shaw said in the news release.

Explore further: Hypospadias not related to organic diet during pregnancy

More information: The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has more about pesticides.

Related Stories

Hypospadias not related to organic diet during pregnancy

March 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Although no obvious relationship between organic diet during pregnancy and hypospadias has been found, frequent consumption of non-organic high-fat dairy products during pregnancy might be associated with increased ...

Mouse mutant opens new path for birth defect research

January 16, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 3 of every 100 babies in the U.S. are born with a birth defect. Among boys, one of the most common defects is the displacement of the urethral opening ...

Major birth defects associated with moderately increased cancer risk in children

August 12, 2013
A multistate study led by researchers at the University of Utah has revealed that the risk for childhood cancer is moderately increased among children and young adolescents with certain types of major birth defects. Children ...

Epilepsy drug dosage linked to specific birth defects

August 25, 2013
In a world first, new Australian medical research has given pregnant women with epilepsy new hope of reducing their chance of having a baby with physical birth defects.

Recommended for you

Phone-addicted teens are unhappy, study finds

January 22, 2018
Happiness is not a warm phone, according to a new study exploring the link between adolescent life satisfaction and screen time. Teens whose eyes are habitually glued to their smartphones are markedly unhappier, said study ...

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

NeuroNext biomarker study explores natural history of infantile-onset SMA

January 9, 2018
Research led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to define the natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been "critical" to accelerate the development of effective therapies and hasten ...

No link between childhood lead levels, later criminality

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)— Exposure to higher levels of lead during early childhood can affect neurological development—but does that mean affected kids are doomed to delinquency?

Early puberty in girls may take mental health toll

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—A girl who gets her first menstrual period early in life—possibly as young as 7—has a greater risk for developing depression and antisocial behaviors that last at least into her 20s, a new study suggests.

Technology not taking over children's lives despite screen-time increase

December 21, 2017
With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.