Navigation Links
Major new UNC-based drinking water study suggests pregnancy fears may be overstated

Fears that chemical byproducts resulting from purifying drinking water with chlorine boost the chances that pregnant women will miscarry were not supported by the results of a major new study. If such threats exist at all, which is uncertain, they likely are modest, it concludes.

The national study, directed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists, contrasts with earlier, less detailed work done in Northern California and published in 1998. That research suggested an association between byproducts known as trihalomethanes and loss of pregnancy.

"We think our new work should be an important contribution to policy studies," said principal investigator Dr. David A. Savitz of the UNC School of Public Health. "While it is not the final answer, what we found is largely reassuring relative to what had come before.

"The vast majority of the U.S. population is living with these exposures to drinking water byproducts," Savitz said. "If they clearly increased women's miscarriage rates, that would be a very big, very expensive problem to solve. Reducing exposure would be quite expensive for the water utilities and ultimately their customers."

The methods used in the new work make it the most ambitious and sophisticated study ever done on this issue, he said.

Savitz, Cary C. Boshamer distinguished professor and chair of epidemiology, and colleagues released a report on the investigation today (July 29). The American Water Works Association Research Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research group, sponsored it.

Others involved include Dr. Philip C. Singer, professor of environmental sciences and engineering and co-principal investigator, and Drs. Katherine E. Hartmann of obstetrics and gynecology and epidemiology, Amy H. Herring of biostatistics and Howard S. Weinberg of environmental sciences and engineering.

The scientists selected and repeatedly tested three properly functioning water purification f acilities, including one with moderate levels of chlorinated disinfection byproducts, one with moderate levels of brominated disinfection byproducts and one with low levels of all disinfection byproducts. None of the utilities was selected because of water quality or health problems.

Between December 2000 and April 2004, the team recruited 3,132 women in the three areas who were planning a pregnancy or who had been pregnant for fewer than 12 weeks. They collected extensive information on the volunteers, including their patterns of water use such as drinking and bathing and what later happened with their pregnancies and births. Among tests the women underwent were ultrasound examinations to collect more detailed information about their pregnancies.

Researchers then, after adjusting for such factors as age, education, alcohol use and prior pregnancy histories, analyzed the data to see what effects the byproduct compounds might have had on pregnancy loss (miscarriage).

The study uncovered no clear-cut evidence that trihalomethanes harmed women or their developing infants and as a result differed significantly from the Northern California research, Savitz said. The new work did suggest that brominated compounds and total organic halides at normal-range levels in purified drinking water might modestly increase the risk of miscarriages among pregnant women.

"These latter findings suggest that we or others should take a closer look at individual and groups of chemicals that might have a negative effect on pregnancy," he said. "I don't want to downplay those findings and say they were perfectly reassuring because they were not. But overall -- on balance -- I'd say this work moves the evidence in a reassuring direction and should serve to lessen concerns."

Because of the overall negative results, he and his colleagues do not plan to make policy recommendations to water managers and municipalities, he said. If possible, future comparabl e studies ought to include methods for determining actual exposures to purification byproducts more accurately.

"We also looked at exposure to these chemicals in relation to preterm births and did not find an association," Savitz said. "If anything, we found the opposite -- that higher-exposure populations had slightly lower risks. There was some indication, however, that reduced fetal growth might be associated with higher exposure levels."

Particularly helpful to the study were the women who participated and the participating water work utilities, he said.

"We are grateful to all these people since we could not have done this useful study without their active cooperation," Savitz said.

A number of earlier investigations have suggested that long-term exposure to water purification byproducts might be related to bladder cancer, an issue not addressed in the present study.


'"/>

Source:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Related biology news :

1. Major breakthrough in the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases
2. Major advance made on DNA structure
3. Major WHO study concludes calcium supplements can reduce complications during pregnancy
4. Major obesity gene is lost in the shuffle
5. Major initiative proposed to address amphibian crisis
6. Major cancer study aims to identify protein markers for early-stage disease
7. Major link in brain-obesity puzzle found
8. Major gene study uncovers secrets of leukemia
9. Ultrasounds show mothers drinking shrinks fetal brain
10. Brains can recover from alcoholic damage but patients should stop drinking as soon as possible
11. New UD technology removes viruses from drinking water
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/11/2017)... N.J. , Jan. 11, 2017  Michael Johnson, co-founder of ... Venture Capital Group, Inc., has been named to the elite "Forbes ... 27,  was one of 600 people in 20 fields nationwide to ... percent of the 15,000 applicants were selected. ... He is currently a PhD candidate at ...
(Date:1/4/2017)... 2017  For the thousands of attendees at this year,s International Consumer ... health and biometric measurement devices and services, will be featuring its new ... in A&D Medical,s special CES Exhibit Suite , the new upper ... the company,s WellnessConnected product platform.  ... ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... December 22, 2016 SuperCom (NASDAQ: ... solutions for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors announced ... has been selected to implement and deploy a community-based supportive services ... Northern California , further expanding its presence in the state. ... This new program, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... GAITHERSBURG, Md. , Jan. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... a privately-held immunotherapeutics company targeting infectious diseases, announced ... the merger of PharmAthene and Altimmune in an ... Fund, HealthCap, Truffle Capital and Redmont Capital. The ... immunotherapeutics company with four clinical stage and one ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Staten Island, NY (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... expand at an exponential rate. The tremendous growth is accounted to two main ... to the table and the expanding network of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: ... will host a live webcast of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders ... The webcast can be accessed from the BD corporate website ... January 31, 2017. ... About BD BD is a global medical technology company ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... N.J. , Jan. 18, 2017   Parent ... the fight to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne) ... to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and ... exploration of robotic technology to assist people ... to incorporate NJIT,s technology – an embedded computer, software, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: