This article examines the association between two birth defects, neural tube defects and oral cleft defects, and maternal physical work demands during the periconceptional period. A case-control study was conducted by comparing exposure characteristics of mothers of malformed infants, as ascertained from the New York State Congenital Malformations Registry (n = 520), with mothers of non-malformed infants (n = 1154). Case groups were further subdivided on whether infants had additional defects. Occupational exposure information was collected from a self-administered questionnaire, and demographic variables from vital records. The results showed no general differences between cases and controls in most variables. However, those infants with cleft defects plus additional defects tended to have a marginally increased risk (odds ratio = 1.76; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-3.21) in relation to maternal jobs requiring standing (≥ 75% of time). We suggest that exposure assessment be improved and defects subdivided for future studies.
From the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (Dr Lin, Ms Gensburg, Ms Roth) and the Bureau of Occupational Health (Dr Marshall), New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY; and Geo-Centers, Inc., Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, Calif. (Dr Dlugosz).
Address correspondence to: Shao Lin, PhD, New York State Department of Health, 1215 Western Avenue, Room 105, Albany, NY 12203.