A preliminary statistical study of whether pesticide use could be related to birth defects in a rural area of venezuela
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SummaryObjectives This study was carried out in response to health authorities' concerns regarding what they considered to be a "high proportion" of birth defects (BD) in a rural Venezuelan state as the preliminary step towards subsequent health assessment regarding exposure to pesticides and possible association with registered BD.Methods This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Generalised linear modelling (GLM) was used for relating BD with county of origin and the date of the events. Pesticide-use reports were used for assessing exposure to pesticides. Infants' medical records for 1999-2002 were obtained from the state hospital. The study group consisted of 108 BD cases from 8 municipalities.Results The cardiovascular system had the highest frequency (20,4 %) of BD, followed by the gastro-intestinal (18,5 %) and urogenital systems (10,2 %). Anilides were the most frequently used group of liquid pesticides (39,8 %), followed by phosphono-methyl-glycine (19,6 %). The most commonly used solid pesticides were organophosphates (54,4 %). GLM revealed some significant results; the number of BD increased exponentially throughout the years being studied.Conclusions A causal association between BD and potential pesticide exposure could not be demonstrated due to data limitations. A more in-depth exposure assessment and epidemiological studies are still needed for characterising the risk of exposure to pesticides in terms of birth outcomes in the area being studied.
- Revista de Salud Pública