The Baltimore-Washington Infant Study, a case-control study of congenital heart defects in liveborn infants conducted in 1981-1989, interviewed parents about a wide range of environmental exposures that occurred during and before the pregnancy. In the period 1987-1989, the questionnaire was expanded to include a detailed inquiry about exposures to pesticides. An analysis of these latter data revealed an association of maternal exposure to any pesticides during the first trimester with transposition of the great arteries in their infants (TGA; n = 66 infants), relative to 771 control infants, with an odds ratio of 2.0 (95% confidence interval (Cl): 1.2, 3.3). No other heart defects were associated with pesticides. When analyzed by type of pesticide and adjusted for covariates, there were associations of TGA with maternal exposures to herbicides (odds ratio (OR) = 2.8; 95% Cl: 1.3, 7.2) and to rodenticidal chemicals (OR = 4.7; 95% Cl: 1.4, 12.1) but not to insecticides (OR = 1.5; 95% Cl: 0.9, 2.6). No data were collected on specific chemicals or brand names. These results raise new questions about the possible epidemiologic association of TGA with some classes of pesticides and warrant new, carefully targeted investigations.
- Heart defects, congenital
- Transposition of great vessels
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