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Can a Parent's Job Raise Odds for Birth Defects in Baby?
Date:7/18/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Men and women exposed to chemicals in the workplace may be increasing their odds of having an infant with a birth defect, two new studies suggest.

In the first report, researchers linked birth defects to fathers who have certain jobs, including mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, artists, photographers, food-service workers, landscapers, hairdressers and make-up artists, the researchers report.

"Our study provides additional evidence of exposures or risk factors among men that can increase the risk of birth defects in their offspring," said lead researcher Tania Desrosiers, from the Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill. "In general, most of the associations we observed between occupations and birth defects were modest."

For example, children of photographers and photo-processing workers were about three times as likely to have congenital glaucoma as offspring of men who worked in other occupations, Desrosiers said.

"Although this increased risk may sound alarming, primary congenital glaucoma in the general population is actually quite rare, with approximately one in 10,000 infants affected," she said.

The report was published online July 17 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

For the study, Desrosiers' team used data from the U.S. National Birth Defects Prevention Study to identify almost 1,000 fathers who had children with a birth defect. They compared these with more than 4,000 fathers whose infant didn't have any birth defects.

The researchers found that about one-third of the jobs they looked at were not associated with birth defects. These occupations included architects, designers, health-care workers, dentists, firefighters, fishermen, car-assembly workers, entertainers, foundry workers, stonemasons,
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