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Mother’s Workplace Exposures During Pregnancy Cause Risk of Cleft Lip in Children
Date:4/18/2013

Lawrence, KS (PRWEB) April 18, 2013

Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal – The first study in human subjects has shown what studies with mice had already found—a mother’s exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is associated with a greater risk of her child having a cleft lip. Workplace exposure, primarily through inhaling the smoke of burning substances, carries this significant risk.

The case-control study, presented in Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, included 2,989 control subjects, 805 cases of cleft lip with or without cleft palate, and 439 cases of cleft palate alone. It used data over a five-year period from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

The burning of coal, tobacco, and other substances creates polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Occupations involving coke ovens, coal tar use, iron and steel works, carbon electrode production, and asphalt manufacturing are likely sources of exposure. Restaurants are another, more commonplace, source of exposure. Cigarette smoke, even secondhand, has already been established as a major source of exposure, showing a moderate association with clefts in earlier studies.

Mothers in this study participated in a computer-assisted telephone interview. Questions included maternal illnesses, medication use, pregnancy history, diet, and alcohol and tobacco use.

Additionally, the subjects supplied information about the jobs they held during preconception and pregnancy. Industrial hygienists assessed the occupational exposure these women experienced. The workplace exposure considered was limited to a period between one month prior to conception and three months after conception.

Those determined to be occupational
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